Nighttime aboveground movements by prairie dogs on colonies inhabited by black-footed ferrets

David A. Eads, Jennifer G. Chipault, Dean E. Biggins, Travis M. Livieri, Joshua J. Millspaugh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    We describe observations of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) emerging aboveground at night, apparently in response to wild-born and captive-born black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) in South Dakota and New Mexico, respectively, We also discuss other similar observations accumulated on black-tailed prairie dog colonies as well as observations of white-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys leucurus) making nighttime movements, apparently in response to pre-reintroduction ferrets in Wyoming. Our observations suggest that, in addition to documented daytime defenses against ferrets, prairie dogs reduce vulnerability to predation by ferrets by using evasive movements at night.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)261-265
    Number of pages5
    JournalWestern North American Naturalist
    Volume70
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 2010

    Keywords

    • antipredator behavior
    • black-footed ferret
    • Cynomys
    • Mustela nigripes
    • prairie dog
    • predator-prey relationships

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