Prairie Dogs

Topics: Prairie dog, Grassland, Biodiversity Pages: 4 (1382 words) Published: March 22, 2012
“Prairie dogs have a significant effect on biological diversity in prairie ecosystems. More than 200 species of wildlife have been associated with prairie dog towns, with over 140 species benefitting directly…” (Williams 34). Terry Tempest Williams, author of the book “Finding Beauty in a Broken World,” delivers a strong argument as to why prairie dogs should be protected. Prairie dogs contribute to the welfare of animals around them in many ways. They create diversity, kinship and community. Williams also states, “They embody two million years of evolving intelligence” (Williams 33). They are social creatures, and they all live in towns and villages. They kiss when they greet each other, as a way of distinguishing one from another. Once recognized, they will engage in nuzzling and other affectionate grooming behaviors. They also are able to distinguish the light from dark. Dogs kept in zoos become so tame, visitors may pet them. Williams gives an example of this in her book when she visits a zoo in North Carolina. She witnesses a man talking to and affectionately petting the belly of a prairie dog (Williams 66). They are not just rodents and they can be extremely humane and friendly. “Prairie dogs, like beavers, are a keystone species- that is one that significantly alters the ecosystem and provides habitat for auxiliary species” (Outwater 73). In the book, “A Sea of Grass,” by Outwater, she delivers a strong argument as to why prairie dogs are beneficial to the grassland ecosystem. Prairie dogs create habitats for other species, because over 200 species live nearby prairie dog burrows. The burrows are never built all the same. Some have special pockets, turn-around rooms, and others have chambers with grass. The temperature underground is convenient for species living there, being as it is warm in winter, and cooler in the summer. Outwater presents a valid reason for protecting the rodents. For example, she states,” In the process of constructing their towns of...
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