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Abilene in Taylor County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Prairie Dogs

A Keystone Species of the Great Plains

 
 
Prairie Dog Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 31, 2015
1. Prairie Dog Marker
Inscription.

Redbud Park Prairie Dogs
The Redbud Park prairie dog town was a natural prairie dog town. The enclosed area was established in 1979 with Revenue Sharing Funds.

Vital Stats
Weight: 1.5-3 lbs.
Length with tail: 3-5"
Shoulder Height: 3-4"
Sexual Maturity: 1 year
Mating Season: March-April
Gestation Period: 28-32 days
No. of Young: 3-8, 5 avg.
Birth Interval: 1 year
Lifespan: 3-5 years in the wild

Prairie Dogs are the most social members of the Squirrel Family and are closely related to ground squirrels, chipmunks and marmots. There are five species of Prairie Dogs (genus Cynomys):
Black-tailed Prairie Dog (C. ludovicianus) occupies narrow bands of dry plains stretching from central Texans to Canada.
White-tailed Prairie Dog (C. leucurus) inhabits Western US: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana.
Gunnison's Prairie Dog (C. gunnisoni) has a much shorter tail than other Prairie Dogs, and it is uniquely colored and centers around the Four Corners from 5000-11000 feet.
Mexican Prairie Dog (C. mexicanus) is an endangered species with a limited distribution only within parts of Mexico.
Utah Prairie Dog (C. parvidens) is the smallest of all Prairie
Original Ranges of Prairie Dogs (circa 1800) image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 31, 2015
2. Original Ranges of Prairie Dogs (circa 1800)
Close-up of map on marker
Dogs and is most threatened.

Curious Prairie Dog Facts
Prairie Dogs are stout, burrowing rodents among the many varieties of ground squirrels.
Prairie Dog burrows are called "towns."
Most Prairie Dogs hibernate during the winter.
Settlers called them "dogs" and "sod poodles" because of their high-pitched, bark-like call.
As members of the genus Cynomys (Greek for "mouse dog"), all 5 species of Prairie Dogs belong to the Squirrel family (Sciuridae).
Prairie Dogs issue different sounds identifying various predators, which include hawks, owls, eagles, ravens, coyotes, badgers, ferrets and snakes.

At the turn of the century, as many as 5 billion Prairie Dogs occupied millions of acres of grass prairies across the West.

Why are prairie dogs important?
Aside from the argument that all life is precious, the prairie dogs is a recognized keystone (or integral) species of the short-grass prairie ecosystem. They contribute to the lives of other mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects of the prairie by providing habitat and food. Abandoned burrows are frequently used as homes by burrowing owls, white tailed rabbits, badgers, weasels, snakes, and even foxes. Prairie dogs' churning activities aerate the soil to allow for more water penetration, while their nitrogen-rich dung improves the quality of
Prairie Dog Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 31, 2015
3. Prairie Dog Marker
the soil and surrounding vegetation. As a prey base, the prairie dog supports a wide variety of species. The swift fox, the coyote, weasels, snakes, hawks, eagles and the endangered black-footed ferret are just a few of the predators who rely on prairie dogs for food.
 
Location. 32° 24.483′ N, 99° 45.819′ W. Marker is in Abilene, Texas, in Taylor County. Marker can be reached from Curry Lane 0.1 miles west of Buffalo Gap Road. Click for map. Marker is located in the southwest corner of Red Bud Park; the above directions are to the Curry Lane entrance to the park. Marker is in this post office area: Abilene TX 79605, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Abilene Woman's Club Building (approx. 1.7 miles away); McMurry College (approx. 1.7 miles away); Abilene State School (approx. 2.4 miles away); Company I   7th Texas Infantry (approx. 2.4 miles away); Sacred Heart Catholic Church (approx. 2.6 miles away); Hattie and Henry Sayles, Sr., House (approx. 2.6 miles away); Dyess Elementary School (approx. 3 miles away); Site of Western Cattle Trail (approx. 3.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Abilene.
 
More about this marker. The left and bottom sides of the marker are damaged and are not readable.
Prairie Dog Marker in Red Bud Park image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 31, 2015
4. Prairie Dog Marker in Red Bud Park

 
Categories. Environment
 
Red Bud Park's Prairie Dog Town image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 31, 2015
5. Red Bud Park's Prairie Dog Town
Prairie Dogs in Red Bud Park image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 31, 2015
6. Prairie Dogs in Red Bud Park
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 180 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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