The prairie dog is a common burrowing ground squirrel spotted across North America. They’re known for digging burrows underground and following a herbivorous diet. There are several animals that can be like these large rodents in a number of ways. In this article we’re going to learn about 11 different animals that are like prairie dogs, in one way or another.
Let’s have a look!
11 Animals Like Prairie Dogs
These are 11 of some common animals that share various similarities with prairie dogs.
1. American Beaver
Scientific name: Castor canadensis
How are they like prairie dogs: they are also in the rodent family, and native to some of the same regions.
American beavers are larger mammals than prairie dogs, but they also belong to the rodent family, and inhabit similar regions of North America. Just like prairie dogs, they are herbivores.
Beavers mostly feed on aquatic plants, in addition to roots, tree bark, and other vegetation. They are known for the sturdy dams they build in running water.
Scientific name: Tamias
How are they like prairie dogs: they are also rodents with a similar brown appearance.
Chipmunks are a common North American rodent, and belong to the same family as prairie dogs. They are smaller than these other rodents, but also have a light brown coloring. Chipmunks are mainly found in woodlands, with ample trees and shrubbery.
They use pouches inside their cheeks to store food, such as seeds and nuts. They create burrows underground, with tunnels connecting them.
3. Yellow Bellied Marmot
Scientific name: Marmota flaviventris
How are they like prairie dogs: also large rodents found in the western United States.
Yellow bellied marmots are large and stocky rodents, similar to prairie dogs, and they can be found in the western regions of North America. They shelter in burrows, and will hibernate during the winter.
These marmots can create burrows in grasslands or under rocks, depending on the terrain they are found in. They can live alone, or share shelter with other yellow bellied marmots.
Scientific name: Suricata suricatta
How are they like prairie dogs: they have similar appearances and burrowing habits.
Meerkats are native to Africa, and look similar to the prairie dogs found throughout North America. Similar to prairie dogs, they burrow in tunnels underground. Meerkats will dig various connecting tunnels, and live in groups of several.
These animals have bushy brown fur, and distinct dark patches around their eyes. They are omnivores, and will eat vegetation in addition to insects and small reptiles.
5. Pocket Gopher
Scientific name: Geomyidae
How are they like prairie dogs: they live in similar shelters and have similar appearances.
Pocket gophers will burrow underground for shelter, similar to Prairie dogs, and they have a similar appearance to these other rodents. These animals have brownish fur, but can also be black and grey.
Pocket gophers are common in the woodlands and farmlands of North America, and will create burrows about 5 feet underground.
6. American Mink
Scientific name: Neovison vison
How are they like prairie dogs: Can be found in similar regions, and also burrow for shelter.
American minks are in the weasel family, and can sometimes be found in the same regions. These minks will create burrows, just like prairie dogs, and can sometimes be found in dry regions of North America.
However, they are more common near coastlines, lakes, or marshes, where they have plenty of access to water and shrubbery. Unlike prairie dogs, they will hunt for other animals, like frogs, fish, small mammals, and birds.
Scientific name: Ondatra zibethicus
How are they like prairie dogs: They are similar in size and appearance, and are also rodents.
Muskrats have a similar size and body shape to prairie dogs, and are often mistaken for beavers. Their main physical difference is the long tail that muskrats have. These large rodents are semi-aquatic, and their tail helps them swim through the water found in their habitats.
Muskrats live in North America and Eurasia, and are known to inhabit both saltwater and freshwater.
8. Northern Short-Tailed Shrew
Scientific name: Blarina brevicauda
How are they like prairie dogs: They also burrow underground and are found in similar regions.
The northern short-tailed shrew is found in some of the same North American regions that prairie dogs are. They are smaller than prairie dogs, but are also known to burrow in tunnels for shelter.
These shrews have poor vision, but have still proven to be fierce hunters of bugs. They do not hibernate, and can be spotted any time of the year.
9. Kangaroo Rat
Scientific name: Dipodomys
How are they like prairie dogs: They’re similar size and appearance, and are also rodents.
The kangaroo rat had a similar size and appearance to prairie dogs, and can also be found in regions of North America. These rodents are excellent chewers, and can run as fast as 30 miles an hour. Kangaroo rats can live their entire lives without drinking water, surviving only on the moisture in their diet of roots, seeds, leaves, and beans.
10. Domestic Ferret
Scientific name: Mustela putorius furo
How are they like prairie dogs: They are similar in size.
Similar to the American mink, domestic ferrets are weasels. They have become popular pets, and can be quite docile when properly cared for. Domestic ferrets are similar in size to prairie dogs, and can sometimes have a similar brownish coloring.
As pets, they are typically fed commercial dry food, but they can also have live mice or even rabbits.
Scientific name: Ochotona
How are they like prairie dogs: They look similar, and are also herbivores.
Pikas have a similar appearance to prairie dogs, with rounded bodies and brown fur. They are also herbivores, feeding on a range of flowers, grass, leaves, and other vegetation. They live in colonies, and are native to Asia, as well as North America.
The Pika thrives in mountainous regions, and does not hibernate during the winter.
These 11 animals can be like prairie dogs in various ways, from what they look like to the shelters they live in. Some of them belong to the same rodent family, while others only share a similar diet.