Prairie Dog Jump-Yip
Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) towns abound in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota) and Badlands National Park (South Dakota). These small mammals occupy an important niche in the shortgrass prairie, grazing on grasses in a manner that promotes the growth of forbs and provides browse for pronghorn and bison. Hawks and coyote prey on prairie dogs (see the photo at the end of this post), and burrowing owls live in their abandoned burrows. We enjoyed watching the prairie dogs' complex social behavior, including the "jump-yip" portrayed below. For more on prairie dogs in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, click here. For one scientific explanation of the "jump-yip," see "Catch the Wave: Decoding the Prairie Dog’s Contagious Jump-Yips."
A coyote trots away with its catch:
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