Prairie dog and Caturday

By Phil Plait | September 10, 2011 8:00 am

Yesterday I went out for my first real bike ride in a couple of weeks (Dragon*Con took up a lot of time!) and had a wonderful excursion. Besides seeing the Mork and Mindy house (which I’ve biked and driven past a million times but never stopped to look at), I saw this cute couple by the road:

Awwwww. Funny– I knew if I got off my bike they’d run, so I had my phone out and ready, biking slowly so the picture would be steady. I was surprised at how well it came out!

It’s actually fun to hang out near a colony and listen to the noises they make; they have different sounds for various things they want to communicate, like getting another’s attention, or warning about a predator. I know the picture looks, um, prurient, but prairie dogs are actually highly social, and like to stand near each other. When they want intimacy, they go underground.

I’ll have to bring a better camera with me next time I go past this colony. They were pretty active, and just too adorable.


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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Caturday, Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: prairie dog
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Comments (17)

  1. Steve

    Over in Westminster in the Big Dry Creek the colonies were all wiped out by the bubonic plague. They had to dust the area to kill the fleas and put up signs warning people to stay on the trails. They are interesting animals but they can do a lot of damage if left uncontrolled for long.

  2. Jim

    She’s staring off dreamily into space and he’s stretching his neck to give you the same “WTF, dude???” look I’d give you if you’d done that bike and camera trick while rolling past me and whatever panting, moaning, screaming recipient of my love happened to be there at the time.

  3. SkyGazer

    pssssst… GRAIL has been launchend.
    Just you know…

  4. Mount

    I know that some people like to keep them as pets, I wonder how trainable they are. A Prairie Dog hunting companion would be neat, it could give the all clear whistle when your targets are underground. Also, their tails are hilarious!

  5. Ben H.
  6. Joseph G

    Yayyyy I loves me some Caturday! Even if it features things that actual kittehs would nom ūüėČ

  7. Old Muley

    Ted, stop!! The kids are watching!!!

  8. réalta fuar

    What Steve said at #1, even if seeing two in a semi-porn pose is sorta, well, cute, doesn’t seem to exactly work.

  9. Michael Swanson

    “They are interesting animals but they can do a lot of damage if left uncontrolled for long.”

    I could probably think of another animal that does a lot of damage when left “uncontrolled.”

  10. VinceRN

    Why no “Click to enNSFWenate”?
    Oh, on second thought, it’s probably best you skipped that this time.

  11. Wildride

    Hey you two, get a burrow!

  12. These are delightful little animals, very similar to their relations the marmots that myself and my wife saw on the terminal moraine at the edge of the glacier on the Gro√üglockner (Austria’s highest mountain) at the Kaiser Franz Josefs Hotel. It was amazing seeing these little creatures in a place of such beauty and living geology… and worrying when you realised the extent of the retreat of this alpine glacier over the last 100 years!

  13. Jeff

    I like these Prairie dogs, they are cute mammals. I give my students a physics problem involving Bornoulli’s Principle about the way the air flows through their burrow, so they get fresh oxygen .

  14. Missy

    I love some of the studies that have been done about their language. It is AMAZING how complex it actually is! In one call that sounds just like another to us they can tell others what is heading their way and (they think) what color it is and what direction it is coming from.

  15. DennyMo

    Tell me again, why does BA persist in calling it “Caturday”, when cats are the minority subject matter? And if there were a contest for “word least likely to mean what it looks like it should mean”, I’d vote for “prurient”. :)

  16. Matt B.

    Since you brought up Mork and Mindy, I want to mention that I’m collecting a list of states in which sitcoms have taken place (about half the states have had one). M & M is one of the two sitcoms I’m aware of that have taken place here in Colorado. The other is the short-lived House Rules from the mid-’90s, so obviously M & M had to be the one I cite.

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