IUCN threat status:

Endangered (EN)

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Biology

The Mexican prairie dog is a highly social species, occurring in large colonies that live in extensive burrow networks known as 'towns' (4). The size of these towns depends on the availability of habitat, but may contain hundreds of individuals. Most colonies at present contain fewer than 50 animals, as extensive areas of habitat do not remain (4). Each town contains just a single dominant male, several females and a number of generations of offspring (2) (5). The dirt excavated during construction of the burrow network is heaped up close to the entrance; this mound is used as a convenient lookout post (5). If a predator, such as a weasel, coyote or bird of prey, is spotted, an alarm call is given and the members of the colony can retreat to the safety of the burrow (5). This species is active throughout the year and only during the day, with activity typically ceasing at around 3 pm each day (2). They feed on a range of herbs and grasses (2). Females produce a single litter of around four pups once a year, at any time from late winter to summer (4) (5). The naked pups are born with their eyes closed, but develop fur by four weeks of age and their eyes open not long after. They are fully weaned at 40 to 50 days and reach adult size at five months of age (5).

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Source: ARKive

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