Prairie Dog Pup in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming USA

How many prairie dog pups have emerged from their burrows this spring?
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In white-tailed prairie dogs females are the primary caretakers of their offspring. After birth young are nursed for 4 to 5 weeks until they are able to emerge from the burrows. Males do not participate in the care of their offspring. After a pup emerges from the burrow for the first time, it is relatively independent. During the mornings, females are the first ones out of the burrow and give warning calls if there are predators nearby. This is one of the only ways females protect their young after pups emerge from the burrow.
Here’s why the  is catching and marking every one of these cute prairie dog pups:
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In captivity, black-tailed prairie dog pups open their eyes at 30 days old. Pups are and remain below ground for up to seven weeks to nurse. Maturity is complete at 15 months old. Lifespan of the black-tailed prairie dog in the wild is unknown, but males more than 3 years old experience high mortality. Females may live longer than males. According to Hoogland and others, lifespan is about 5 years for males and 7 years for females. Prairie Dog Pup in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Badlands
Photo provided by FlickrSee more Prairie Dog pups below the fold.
Photo provided by PexelsSee more Prairie Dog pups below the fold.
Photo provided by Flickr
Family groups (a male, a few females, and their young) inhabit burrows and cooperate to share food, chase off other prairie dogs, and groom one another. These group members even greet one another with a prairie dog kiss or nuzzle. Young pups are very playful and can often been seen romping near their burrows.Prairie dogs have precious few ways to tell you when they’re in desperate need of something. Pups have even less. If they start gnashing their teeth, there is something seriously wrong, and you need to respond immediately.The best cage for a prairie dog is a multi-level ferret cage. The multi-level ferret cage is closest to a burrow and gives the prairie dog adequate room to move around and stand up. Prairie dogs may be moved between different cages to keep them from becoming bored. The cage tray bottom may be lined with pine shavings or aspen bedding to absorb moisture. Hay and bedding material may be added for them to weave a nest with. When you first bring your prairie dog home, hold it even if it protests. You may use gloves if necessary and must not let the prairie dog loose. If the prairie dog bites, discipline it. Never let it jump out of the cage when you open the door. You must always have it jump or walk into your arms and then you may put it down. A prairie dog must be taught that you are the boss. You must not give an inch with them while they are pups. Once a prairie dog has bonded with you, it will love you like its own family. A prairie dog has a variety of vocal signals and body which you must learn to recognize and respect.Prairie dogs live in groups called coteries. Each coterie will have 1 male and 2 or 3 breeding females along with the pups. The land size of 1 coterie can be an acre large with up to 70 different burrow entrances. A prairie dog town is a group of coteries. Prairie dogs mate in March, and give birth to three or four pups in April or May. For 1-2 months, the mother will nurse and care for the pups underground. Once they emerge, the pups are nursed communally by other group members.The most important thing that your prairie dog can eat, at any age, is Timothy hay. As a pup, 80% of their diet should be this. As an adult, they should get as much as they can eat. One of the more important things that you can learn about this, is that, prairie dogs, who are “selectively herbivorous” in nature, will never eat all of the hay. In fact, they will only eat the parts of it that they detect to be of optimal nutrition, and will leave the rest. This means that the hay should be replaced with new hay -every day-. Extra hay in the cage doesn’t mean that they’re not starving. You also might be tempted to simply add new hay to the cage without removing the old stuff. While this might be fine for more mature dogs, be aware that old hay presents the risk of mold, which can be very toxic to pups.