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Puppy love: prairie dog pups emerge from their burrows

Just in time for Mother’s Day, eight tiny new prairie dog pups have recently emerged from their burrows to explore the world above ground.

Prairie dog pups are born blind and hairless, and do not make an appearance outside of the burrow until they are about six weeks old. In honor of Mother’s Day, Franklin Park Zoo will offer free admission to all moms on Sunday, May 12, and families are invited to experience the puppy love with these new arrivals and explore all that the Zoo has to offer.

Black-tailed prairie dogs are not actually dogs at all. They are small, stout, tan rodents with a lightly white or buff-white belly. They have short black tails, small ears, dark eyes and long claws used for digging.

Black-tailed prairie dogs are found in short-grass prairie habitats of western North America, from southern Saskatchewan down to northern Mexico. They form complex, widespread underground burrow systems, and avoid areas of heavy brush or tall grass due to reduced visibility. Prairie dogs live in what are called towns or colonies. These colonies are further divided into territorial neighborhoods called wards. Within the wards are coteries, which are family groups comprised of a male, one to four females and offspring under two years old.