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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Custer in Custer County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Life in a Prairie Dog Town

Wind Cave National Park

 
 
Life in a Prairie Dog Town Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 29, 2008
1. Life in a Prairie Dog Town Marker
Inscription. Whether they know it or not, black-tailed prairie dogs are wildlife managers. These ground squirrels are intricately connected to numerous plant and animal species and play a key role in the health and stability of the prairie.

The eating habits alter vegetation, attracting bison, elk, pronghorn antelope, and deer to their towns to graze on tender new shoots. Their burrows provide shelter for insects, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and even burrowing owls. Their towns attract coyotes, badgers, hawks, and eagles. When these predators arrive, prairie dogs stop their social chattering and sound the alarm. Can you detect the warning signal? It sounded like barking dogs to the pioneers.

Burrows
Prairie dog burrows slope downward about 10 feet. The first chamber serves as a listening post and turnaround. Other chambers serve as living quarters, nest and toilet.

Codependents
Constant nibbling by 1 prairie dogs rejuvenates grasses such as blue grama and allows forbs or broad-leafed plants to grow. Forbs attract 2 pronghorn antelope and new grasses attract 3 bison. 4 Meadowlarks and other birds feed on insects and nest in the grasses while 5 hawks and 6 coyotes patrol for prey. 7 Badgers, prairie voles, and thirteen-lined ground squirrels build nests in deserted burrows. One of the rarest
Buffalo grazing in Prairie Dog Town image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 29, 2008
2. Buffalo grazing in Prairie Dog Town
prairie dog predators is the black-footed ferret.
 
Erected by National Park Service-United States Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 43° 34.435′ N, 103° 29.245′ W. Marker is in Custer, South Dakota, in Custer County. Marker is on State Highway 87. Click for map. The marker is in the pull off area just north of junction US 385. Marker is in this post office area: Custer SD 57730, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Paha Sapa Limestone (approx. 1.3 miles away); The CCC's Enduring Legacy (approx. 1.3 miles away); The Buffalo Corrals (approx. 8.5 miles away); Jedediah Strong Smith’s Route - - 1823 (approx. 9.1 miles away); The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD (approx. 10.4 miles away); Hot Springs, SD (approx. 10.8 miles away); Leslie Jensen Scenic Drive (approx. 12.3 miles away); Fall River Falls (approx. 12.5 miles away).
 
Categories. Animals
 
Buffalo grazing in Prairie Dog Town image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 29, 2008
3. Buffalo grazing in Prairie Dog Town
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 337 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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