Did you know that prairie dogs talk to one another?
The Prairie Dog Patch (under construction) has lots of photos and video to see. This is a fun place to watch and listen to the black-tailed prairie dogs in Nebraska.
When prairie dogs are with their family and they are greeting one another and feeling safe you might hear:
or.. if they feel threatened because you're a stranger or a predator, you might hear this:
(beware: if your pet prairie dogs are within ear range, they will run and hide because these prairie dogs are warning others that danger is near!)
Different species of prairie dogs have their own language. At the Midwest Prairie Dog Shelter, different species have learned to communicate with one another. Just like people, they can have deep voices or very high voices. Some answer when I say hello to them. Some exuberantly call out "Ya-hoo!" when I pick them up for snuggle time. Some get very upset anytime company visits, and they bring their lips forward and begin to chatter their teeth making a motoring sound that may be accompanied by wide eyes, a flared tail and slow deliberate movements. Sometimes if a stranger gets too close, those movements may become quick and aggressive. In my observations, Black-tails predominantly communicate with body language while Gunnison's communicate vocally.
Dana is a Black-Tailed prairie dog.
(action photo below)
Have you ever seen or heard a Gunnison's prairie dog? Check out the video below:
"Speedy" is a Gunnison's prairie dog.
He's telling me "Hey! That's MY carrot!"
The Gunnison's language is very different from the Black-tails. If you listen carefully at the beginning of the video, you can hear the black-tails responding to my voice. They answer with a resounding chorus that sounds like "eee-oooo" or "wahoo" in all different "tones". Some call out with one syllable while others call out in two. In the PD world, we call those sounds "Yips!" or "Yahoos!"
When the Gunnison's prairie dog first came to the Midwest Prairie Dog Shelter, the Black-tails misunderstood him when he barked, and all ran for cover because they thought he was calling out a warning call. The Black-tails soon learned to understand what the Gunnison's was telling them, and after two years of living in the same "Prairie Dog Town", they all communicate with one another and with me.
by Dianne & The James Gang
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brought to you by Prairie Dog Specialists