Prairie Dogs vs. the Rattle

In our previous post, What Burrows in the Grasslands of the Southwest?, we talked about what the Southwest looks like and what amazing creatures live in its ecosystem. Today we feature this herb, plant, and insect eating creature, the Prairie dog.

Rattlesnakes consume mice, rats, small birds and other small animals,[9] playing an important ecological role by limiting the size of rodent populations, which prevents crop damage and stabilizes ecosystems.[10]

Rattlesnakes lie in wait for their prey, or hunt for it in holes.[11] The prey are killed quickly with a venomous bite as opposed to constricting. (Wikipedia, 2013)

Let’s take a look at how this brave prairie dog defends her burrow from a deadly rattlesnake. The rattlesnake knows that the mother prairie dog has her babies inside the nest. Watch how the entire Prairie dog colony communicates that there is danger roaming in the grassland.

(Discovery Channel “North America”)

Use the information you have learned on Food Chains: How Energy is Transferred, and respond to the following questions:

  1. According to the food chain’s trophic levels, where would you find the Prairie dog?
  2. What trophic level would you find the Rattlesnake?
  3. Why is having a stable, balanced ecosystem important?


Categories: Science

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66 replies

  1. I love the video because it was cool when the Rattle Snake scared the Prairie Dogs

  2. THat was awesome I learn that i think that rattle snakes eat prairie dogs

  3. I thought the were going to fight I was so scared

  4. The rattlesnakes are in the top because the dangerous they have lots of venom to eat a 200 pound man that crazy.I believe that the prairie dog would be a little higher from the middle.

  5. Rattlesnakes are pretty much at the top of their food webs, although it’s possible for a hawk to eat one. And in California, king snakes are immune to their venom and prey on them. So they are secondary consumers. As for the prairie dogs, the amount of info that is coming out in animals’ communication is fascinating.

    • Thank you pelicanguy6. We like your input. Yes, we’ve seen only a portion of how the prairie dogs communicate. Experts who study these animals are learning more about the ways they seem to have an extensive and distinct noise/squeak system.

  6. Sooooooooo cute.

  7. You can find the a Prairie dog in the southwest you usually find a Rattlesnake in the desert. 🙂

  8. It is important to have a stable ecosystem because if you don’t have a pig then fox will die.