When is a dog not a dog? When it's a large ground squirrel found on the prairie! Prairie dogs are social rodents that live in huge, underground burrows, called towns. They make these towns in the prairies and plateaus of North America. Undisturbed towns have tens of thousands of prairie dog residents and go for miles in every direction. Each town consists of subgroups, or wards, and wards are, in turn, split into family groups called coteries. Each coterie defends a home territory of about 1 acre (0.4 hectare) from surrounding coteries. The typical coterie territory has 70 separate burrow entrances.
Prairie dogs have a communication system that warns other members of the town of danger. Different sounds identify various predators such as hawks, owls, eagles, ravens, coyotes, badgers, ferrets, and snakes.