Life in a Prairie Dog Town

Life in a Prairie Dog Town (HM1CJ0)

Location: Hot Springs, SD 57747 Custer County
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Country: United States of America
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N 43° 34.435', W 103° 29.245'

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Wind Cave National Park

Whether they know it or not, black-tailed prairie dogs are wildlife managers. These ground squirrels are intricately connected to numerous plant and animal species and play a key role in the health and stability of the prairie.

The eating habits alter vegetation, attracting bison, elk, pronghorn antelope, and deer to their towns to graze on tender new shoots. Their burrows provide shelter for insects, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and even burrowing owls. Their towns attract coyotes, badgers, hawks, and eagles. When these predators arrive, prairie dogs stop their social chattering and sound the alarm. Can you detect the warning signal? It sounded like barking dogs to the pioneers.

Prairie dog burrows slope downward about 10 feet. The first chamber serves as a listening post and turnaround. Other chambers serve as living quarters, nest and toilet.

Constant nibbling by 1 prairie dogs rejuvenates grasses such as blue grama and allows forbs or broad-leafed plants to grow. Forbs attract 2 pronghorn antelope and new grasses attract 3 bison. 4 Meadowlarks and other birds feed on insects and nest in the grasses while 5 hawks and 6 coyotes patrol for prey. 7 Badgers, prairie voles, and thirteen-lined ground squirrels build nests in deserted burrows. One of the rarest prairie dog predators is the black-footed ferret.
HM NumberHM1CJ0
Placed ByNational Park Service-United States Department of the Interior
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 8:38am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)13T E 622135 N 4825661
Decimal Degrees43.57391667, -103.48741667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 34.435', W 103° 29.245'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 34' 26.10" N, 103° 29' 14.70" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)605
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 23270 Unnamed Road, Hot Springs SD 57747, US
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