July 12, 2012; Badlands National Park. From Wikipedia:Prairie dogs
) are burrowing rodents
native to the grasslands
of North America. The five different species of prairie dogs are: black-tailed
and Mexican prairie dogs
. They are a type of ground squirrel
, found in the United States
. In Mexico, prairie dogs are found primarily in the northern states, which lie at the southern end of the Great Plains: northeastern Sonora
, north and northeastern Chihuahua
, northern Coahuila
, northern Nuevo Le?n
, and northern Tamaulipas
. In the U.S., they range primarily to the west of the Mississippi River
, though they have also been introduced in a few eastern locales. They are herbivorous
Prairie dogs are named for their habitat and warning call, which sounds similar to a dog's bark. The name was in use at least as early as 1774.
The 1804 journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
note that in September 1804, they "discovered a Village of an animal the French Call the Prairie Dog."
Its genus, Cynomys
, derives from the Greek
for "dog mouse".
In companies that use large numbers of cubicles
in a common space, employees sometimes use the term prairie dogging
to refer to the action of several people simultaneously looking over the walls of their cubicles in response to a noise or other distraction. This action is thought to resemble the startled response of a group of prairie dogs.