UtahPrairieDog

The Utah Prairie Dog is the smallest of the Prairie Dog species and is listed as Threatened.
The rampaging rodents dig extensive tunnel communities, and the damage they cause to farms
has made them targets for varmint hunters and poison usage throughout Utah, contributing to
the threatening of the species. This particular rodent, known as Sparky, has created an
exceptionally impressive underground home in the Bentonite clay of Red Canyon.

Click an image to open a larger version.
Use your back button to return to this page.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Red Canyon Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


Direct Links to the Red Canyon Galleries:

 Pink Ledges           Arches Trail            Cassidy Trail
Golden Wall Trail         Flora & Fauna          Utah Prairie Dog

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Utah_Prairie_Dog_Red_Canyon_X2253


Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2253
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Sparky the Utah Prairie Dog outside her extensive underground burrow in Red Canyon.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2254
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What is that strange clicking sound?

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2255
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Hmmm... doesn’t seem to be dangerous.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2256
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Sparky sits erect at an entrance to her burrow.
This is a characteristic pose for the Prairie Dog.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2277 M
(1000 x 1600, 384 KB)

Note the long claws, perfect for burrowing.

Prairie Dog burrows can have as many as six entrances into their complex underground tunnels,
 which can have several chambers, each dedicated to a specific function such as sleeping quarters,
bathrooms, nurseries, etc. The entrances are funnel-shaped, with a raised mound around the opening
 to block occasional flood waters from inundating the burrow. The burrow is generally 6 to 15 feet deep
and can extend 50-100 feet or more. Some internal chambers are dug at the end of rising corridors to
serve as shelters in case of flooding, and some chambers are specially-designed as listening posts.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2257
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Sparky the Utah Prairie Dog, checking out a spiny plant near her burrow in Red Canyon.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2258
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“You talkin’ to me?”
(apologies to Robert de Niro)

Note the Bentonite clay sticking to Sparky’s fur, and the clump stuck on her nose.
It’s hard to take that deadly stare seriously when she wears an orange clay facial mask.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Red Canyon Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


Direct Links to the Red Canyon Galleries:

 Pink Ledges           Arches Trail            Cassidy Trail
Golden Wall Trail         Flora & Fauna          Utah Prairie Dog

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Utah_Prairie_Dog_Red_Canyon_X2259


Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2259
(333 KB)

Utah Prairie Dogs are true hibernators and spend four to six months underground to avoid
the harsh temperatures during the winter. By October they are all snuggled in their burrows.
They are not completely dormant though, and can be observed outside their burrows even in
the middle of winter depending upon the weather. They typically emerge at the end of March.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2260
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Prairie Dogs typically eat grasses and other vegetation.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2262
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Are you still there?

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2261
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Sparky the Utah Prairie Dog sniffs a fragrant stalk near her extensive burrow in Red Canyon.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2263
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Sparky inspects the stalk to see if it meets her standards... and offers it to her admirers.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2265
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Sparky the Utah Prairie Dog, munching a tasty nut at the entrance to her burrow.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2267
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Sparky makes fast work of the first half of her nut...

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2270
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... then she moves to the edge of the entrance to finish it.

Unlike other Prairie Dogs, the Utah Prairie Dog has a distinctive black eyebrow.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2267c
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The linked image is a detail crop from the SXL master,
showing the detail you can expect from the full-size images.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Red Canyon Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


Direct Links to the Red Canyon Galleries:

 Pink Ledges           Arches Trail            Cassidy Trail
Golden Wall Trail         Flora & Fauna          Utah Prairie Dog

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Utah_Prairie_Dog_Red_Canyon_X2269


Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2269
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Sparky the Utah Prairie Dog, posing in front of the entrance to her extensive burrow in Red Canyon.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2273
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Sparky seemed to be very interested in the huge glass eye.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2287
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Eventually, she relaxed into her renowned modeling stance.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2281
(308 KB)

Do you like this stance better?

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2284
(280 KB)

How about this one?

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2285
(462 KB)

Prairie Dogs are related to the ground squirrels and marmots. The genus Cynomys derives from the Greek for “dog mouse”.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2286
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Utah Prairie Dogs have a brown cheek patch and heavy black eyebrows, and their eyes are placed on the sides of the head.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2288
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Sparky in the characteristic erect seated position.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2294
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She rocks side to side to change the angle of view.

Prairie Dogs have exceptional peripheral vision and depth perception due to the placement of the eyes
on the sides of the head. This allows them to keep an eye out for their main predators (badgers, coyotes,
raptors, etc.) and calculate distance and speed of approach of predators so they can warn others of danger.

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Utah Prairie Dog Red Canyon X2292
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Prairie dogs sit erect to watch for danger, and yip to alert others with a complex
set of calls which describe the predator, how big it is and how fast it is approaching.
They also have calls for things which are not predators and are quite communicative.
Recent studies have indicated that Prairie dogs have the most sophisticated of
the animal languages, with a different sound for each predator and action.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Red Canyon Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


Direct Links to the Red Canyon Galleries:

 Pink Ledges           Arches Trail            Cassidy Trail
Golden Wall Trail         Flora & Fauna          Utah Prairie Dog

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PinkLedges


Click the display composite above to visit the Pink Ledges page

ArchesTrail


Click the display composite above to visit the Arches Trail page

CassidyTrail


Click the display composite above to visit the Cassidy Trail page

GoldenWallTrail


Click the display composite above to visit the Golden Wall Trail page

Flora_Fauna


Click the display composite above to visit the Red Canyon Flora and Fauna page

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