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Prairie-Marmot

PRAIRIE-MARMOT, a zoological emendation for the American name " prairie-dog," applied to a small North American rodent allied to the squirrels and marmots, and technically known as Cynomys ludovicianus (see MARMOT). In a great degree prairie-marmots, of which there are several species in North America, ranging as far south as Mexico, are intermediate between marmots and sousliks (see SOUSLIK), having the cheekpouches much smaller than in the latter, and the first front-toe, which is rudimentary in marmots and sousliks, well developed. The cheek-teeth are more complex than those of marmots, and the two series converge behind. In their slender build and small size, prairie-marmots are much more like sousliks than marmots. In habits these rodents are very like marmots, the typical species inhabiting the open prairies, while the others are found in mountains. The prairie species (C. ludovicianus) makes a raised, funnel-shaped entrance to its burrow. All feed on the roots of grass; and when disturbed, like marmots, utter a whistling cry. Rattlesnakes, owls and weasels are commonly found in the burrows; but their presence is no indication of the existence of a kind of " happy family " arrangement, the snakes, at any rate, preying on the young marmots. The hibernation of these rodents is only partial, and confined to seasons of intense cold. (See RODENTIA.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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