Juancitos (Prairie Dogs)

Aug 8, 2013 by Alicia Grajeda

Juancitos-1It’s the time of year when we will see these little critters from all over the highway to Rocky Point. They will be found on any dirt road in town, and all over our desert. So here is a little bit of information on the mischievious Praire dog or Perrito de la Pradera popularly known as the Juancito. As you probably already noticed these cute critters are very active during spring and summer months and hibernate during the cold winter months. They are called prairie dogs due to their warning call which sounds just like a small dog barking.

They are very social and live in large colonies, so don’t be surprised to see a few of them running  from burrow to burrow together, or a few of them standing up on their two feet to call or look out for any danger. Juancitos dig burrows that are from 10cm to 15cm wide and up to 300 meters long, where whole families live together. Juancitos are rodents and they reproduce like so, that’s why we see so many of them this time of year. They are also herbivores and they will eat anything from grass and seeds to insects, but one of their favorite foods are mesquite seed pods and this is mostly where they get their water from.

Juancitos-2Many people consider them pests because they do tend to eat your garden plants. If you have a Juancito problem please call your pest control service and let them try to help you with the best way possible to get rid of them without doing much harm. Please try to be tolerant since they are considered keystone species and they are necessary to balance out the desert food chain. Please do not poison Juancitos or try to get rid of them yourself as you are also putting your pets, and other animals like coyotes and birds in danger. Yes, it is possible that they will eat a poisoned dead Juancito. Meanwhile, enjoy seeing them run around with their young…collecting food and getting ready for the hot summer days ahead.

 

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