Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Animal Blogging: Denver Edition

When I first rode into town and started driving around looking for a place to live and to familiarize myself with the area, I noticed that vacant lots were often covered with what looked like mounds every few feet or so. My first thought was, oh no, please don't tell me that they've got fire ants out here. But as I looked closer, I saw that the mounds had little whiskered critters poking up out of them, and then I realized what I was seeing. Prairie Dogs. This took me completely by surprise. I figured that prairie dogs lived out in the sticks; the idea that they would live smack dab in the middle of an urban area never occurred to me. And the fact that they'd be so population dense was also a surprise. I took some pictures of the little varmints this morning.

They don't like you getting close to them for obvious reasons. They start chirping like mad whenever you approach, and they don't stop. Here's a little group of them eyeing me wearily. And note the tennis courts in the background. They don't care how close to human structures they get. Any patch of land of any size will do. I've even seen them living in highway medians.

Because you can't get too close to them without them disappearing down a hole, this was the best close-up I could get. The resolution leaves a bit to be desired because I've zoomed in and cropped the photo. One of these days, I might hide for awhile and wait, and then I'll get a good shot.

And this should give you an idea of just how many of these bastards there are out here. This is a field near my house that is just full of dog mounds. The picture really doesn't do the field justice, as it stretches for a long way in every direction.

You can see a number of prairie dogs standing on their hind quarters in the above picture. Try zooming in on the picture and counting them all. I come up with seven varmints.