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Prairie dogs are named for their habitat and warning call, which sounds similar to a dog's bark. The name was in use at least as early as 1774.The 1804 journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition note that in September 1804, they "discovered a Village of an animal the French call the Prairie Dog." Its genus, Cynomys, derives from the Greek for "dog mouse".
Prairie dogs, a type of ground squirrel are considered a keystone species because they are the primary diet in prairie species such as the black-footed ferret, swift fox, golden eagle, American badger, and ferruginous hawk. Also, the mountain plover & the burrowing owl rely on prairie dog burrows for nesting areas. We need to remember even the smallest of creatures play an important role in the circle of life.