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Prairie dog

Prairie dogs

Prairie dogs
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Scientific classification
Conomys gunnisoni
Conomys leucurus
Conomys ludovicianus

Conomys mexicanus
Conomys parvidens

Prairie dogs are small stout-bodied burrowing rodents with shallow cheek pouches native to both North and Central America.

In 2003 they came to public attention in the U.S. because pet prairie dogs spread monkeypox, a mild variant of smallpox previously unknown in North America, to more than a dozen people. The prairie dogs apparently contracted the disease from a Gambian pouched rat[?] in a Chicago-area pet store.

An average size is 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm) long. In the United States prairie dogs are primarily found west of the Mississippi River, but they have been introduced into a few eastern locales. All are herbivores, and in settled regions they sometimes damage crops severely.

  • Suborder Sciurognathi[?]
    • FAMILY SCIURINAE[?] (Mountain Beaver[?], squirrels, chipmunks, marmots[?] and prairie dogs)
      • Subfamily Sciurinae
        • Genus Conomys
          • Gunnison's Prairie Dog, Conomys gunnisoni
          • White-tailed Prairie Dog, Conomys leucurus
          • Black-tailed Prairie Dog, Conomys ludovicianus
          • Mexican Prairie Dog, Conomys mexicanus
          • Utah Prairie Dog, Conomys parvidens
        • About 35 other genera in subfamily

The White-tailed Prairie Dog was described by Ludvig/Louis, and was named after the 1805 Lewis and Clark Expedition where prairie dogs were first identified for scientific study.

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