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The highly social prairie dogs live in large colonies or "towns" – collections of prairie dog families that can span hundreds of acres. Families usually consist of 1 male and 2 to 4 females living in a strict social hierarchy. Prairie dog pups reach sexual maturity at about 3 years of age, and after their third winter the dominant male in a given family will drive them away, forcing them to establish their own families on the edges of the colony. The dominant male will defend the family's borders against rival prairie dogs, and disputes are resolved by fighting. Prairie dogs are also aggressive against predators such as badgers and snakes. Prairie dogs are social animals, however, and often make social visits with each other, and greet each other with a sort of kiss.
Our local zoo has a colony of these extremely cute little animals, and I suspect they know very well that they're cute and use it to their full advantage, to get us visitors to give them food :)
Also by Sanne van de Berg
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