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Difference Between Prairie Dog and Groundhog

groundhog_prairedogPrairie Dog vs Groundhog

The American landscape is full of variously sized mammals that scamper, burrow, and otherwise run about. These animals are more likely than not member of the Sciuridae family, a classification that includes chipmunks, squirrels, prairie dogs, groundhogs, and marmots, among others. Sciuridae have many of the same characteristics across the family, including diet and behavior, but two commonly confused animals, the prairie dog and the groundhog actually have many differences.

Physical Description
Prairie Dog ‘“ grow to sixteen inches in length and can weigh up to three pounds. They have a stick body and a comparatively short and thin tail that is less than one quarter of the length of his body. The coat of the prairie dog is mottled brown in order to blend in with his surroundings. You will often see prairie dogs sitting up on their haunches.

Groundhog ‘“ is the largest member of its family. It will be as long as twenty-six inches and weigh up to nine pounds. Groundhogs are built for digging. They have heavy-duty claws and thickly muscled forearms. They differ from other Sciuridaes because their spine is slightly rounded. Their coat is grayish brown and has two layers for extra insulation during the winter months.

Prairie Dog ‘“ is found in the western half of North America, stretching from the plains of Canada down to Mexico. As their name implies, they prefer flat land.
Groundhog ‘“ are found over almost all of North America as they do not require the same amount of flat prairie that their cousins do.

Prairie Dog ‘“ live in colonies. These colonies or towns are very large and can sometimes cover over one hundred acres. They live in polygamous families that shelter their pups for the first three years of their life. They graze down the area around their burrows, always staying close to home base for protection. They are communal animals, and while some are grazing other prairie dogs will keep watch for predators and sound an alarm that sends all the animals into their burrow for safety.

Groundhog ‘“ also live in burrows, but not in huge colonies. At the most, three or four groundhogs will occupy the same burrow. The burrow is used for hibernation during the winter, as well as for general sleeping and the raising of young during the spring and summer months. In addition to going into their burrows for their protection, groundhogs have also been seen climbing trees or swimming to escape predators.

1.Groundhogs and prairie dogs are both members of the same family.
2.They are similar in coloration and body shape, though the groundhog is much bigger.
3.Prairie dogs and groundhogs both live in burrows, but prairie dogs will connect their burrows to huge colonies while groundhogs prefer to live on their own.
4.Groundhogs are found all over North America and combat the cold by hibernating whereas prairie dogs prefer more temperate flatlands.

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  1. You forgot to mention that groundhogs can predict the weather whereas prairie dogs don’t have a clue.

  2. Would it have been too much to maybe, I don’t know, include pictures comparing the two?

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