Black Tailed Prairie Dogs

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This profile is on the black-tailed prairie dog. It will be introducing their background, life cycle, structure and function, evolution and an additional interest. It will also be going over their unique social structure and the way they form communities called prairie towns, which are a large system of burrows. The importance of burrows, in particular, to the black-tailed prairie dog cannot be overstated.

Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs
The black-tailed prairie dog’s scientific name is Cynomys ludovicianus that, colorfully, means “dog mouse of Louisiana.” It lives in North America in the Great Plains region of the United States. Its territory stretches all the way to the borders of Canada and Mexico, but not to the coasts. The black-tailed prairie dog is the most common and prolific of all prairie dogs, and has the largest territory. Prairie dog towns, a system of burrows that are close together and can span miles, are subdivided into wards, coteries, and individuals on a downward sliding scale depending on population size.

Life Cycle
The breeding season of black-tailed prairie dogs varies depending on the temperature of their locale. In warmer climates, breeding season may begin in what is still technically the winter. In colder climates, the breeding season may not come until March. The breeding season is a once a year event that starts when “the lengthening hours of daylight after the winter solstice trigger onset of estrus” (Graves, 2001). Males of the
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