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While you’re at Reptile Gardens, swing by and visit our Prairie Dog Town. Get down to prairie dog level in our underground bubble and watch these little furry creatures frolic and play!

What is a Prairie Dog Town?

Prairie dog towns are a maze of underground tunnels. They can cover hundreds of acres and include a number of family groups called coteries. These furry little friends are also quite the engineers, as these towns also have built-in drainage in case of heavy rains or flooding.  The towns are also equipped with small listening chambers just below the surface to allow prairie dogs to hide, yet be near enough to the surface to hear predator movements.

Behavior: Social, but Aggressive

Prairie Dogs are highly social, but their relationships with each other change from season to season. In the spring and summer, they are usually relaxed, friendly, and affectionate. Fall and winter months can be full of drama - males often become aggressive and fight with each other.

When prairie dogs from different coteries meet, it can be intense! Territorial arguments often take place - they stare at each other, chatter their teeth, flare their tails, and sometimes even fight and chase each other. But, they have also helped other family groups by warning each other of predators or other signs of danger.

Strangers entering a town beware: They are also aggressive toward outsiders and will often kill them rather than assimilate them.

 

Prairie Dog Fun Facts

  1. Prairie dogs are members of the squirrel family, which includes ground squirrels, chipmunks, and marmots.
  2. The "dog" part of their name is from the barking sound they make.
  3. This bark-like call is the most sophisticated of all natural animal languages - they have distinctively different sounds for specific predators.
  4. Coteries usually include one male, one to four females, and their young up to 2 years of age.
  5. Prairie dogs recognize each other by touching their front teeth together; this is also known as a kiss.
  6. Prairie Dogs can run up to 35 miles per hour for short distances!

 

Benefits of Prairie Dogs

Prairie dogs are an important part of the prairie ecosystem. It was recently discovered that their digging aerates the soil and allows for better water penetration.  Also, their nitrogen-rich dung improves soil quality and vegetation. They are also a key species for other animals: foxes, coyotes, weasels, snakes, hawks, eagles, and the endangered black-footed ferret are just a few of the many predators that rely on prairie dogs for food.

Stop by and stay a while at our Prairie Dog Town.  Observing these incredibly social animals is fun for the whole family, and seeing them interact at a ground level is an amazing experience!

 
Prairie Dog Town

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

The prairie dog population has dropped by 98% since the turn of the 20th century - an estimated five billion prairie dogs once lived on millions of acres of grass prairies across western North America. This decreased population can largely be attributed to ranchers and farmers who consider prairie dogs as pests and have been intent on removing prairie dogs from their land to allow for growing crops and grazing land for livestock.


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About Us

Sky Dome

Step inside the Sky Dome to experience a warm tropical climate while exploring our indoor jungle filled with exotic and unique flora and fauna. 

Rattlesnake Gulch

Try your hand at gemstone sluicing or go on a 3D safari. Our very own old west ghost town as numerous photo opportunities and activities to keep the kids entertained.

Cheyenne's Habitat

Cheyenne the bald eagle has been a permanent resident of Reptile Gardens for 11 years with permission of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Maniac's habitat

Maniac is our resident giant saltwater crocodile. At over 16 feet long and1,350pounds, he is one of the largest giant crocodiles in the western hemisphere. If you don't see him at his enclosure inside the SkyDome, make sure to check outside!

Prairie Dog Town

Get down to eye-level with these fuzzy little animals and see firsthand what life is like in a typical prairie dog town!

Methuselah's Playground

Methuselah was a giant Galapagos Tortoise weighing in at over 600 pounds, and a long time resident of Reptile Gardens. His memory lives on at this playground featuring a bronze statue of Methuselah himself. 

Snake Show stage

Get up-close-and-personal with our snake ambassadors in this family-friendly snake handling show.

Gator Show stage

Dozens of Alligators, Crocodiles, and Caimans and one keeper...what could go wrong? Separate fact from fiction in this educational, family-friendly show and get a chance to pet Fluffy, our baby gator!

Bird Show stage

Interact with birds from around the world at the Bird Show, where they love to show off their beauty and intelligence. 

Gift Shop

Carrying a wide variety of Reptile Gardens souvenirs as well as educational books for every age and a variety of stunning rocks, minerals, and fossils from all over the world.

Green Parrot Cafe

Hungry? Refuel with buffalo burgers, The Maniac burger, Black Mamba Shakes, Indian Tacos, and more!

Giant Tortoise

Don't miss this photo opportunity! Get up-close and personal with these friendly giants who love to have their neck scratched and are great with kids. 

Tortuga Falls

Take a stroll through this meditative garden, gaze into our turtle and koi pond, listen to the waterfalls, and don't miss Darwin the Kookaburra! 

Walking Garden

We're about more than just Reptiles! Our outdoor gardens are beauty to be seen as they change throughout the season and year after year. 

Living Wall

This vertical garden is a wall of color that grows and changes through the Summer season creating striking patterns and unique portraits as it grows. 

Pet A Python

Don't miss your chance to Pet a Python!  Our snake handlers ar here to talk about any questions or myths you've heard about snakes. Don't forget your camera! Our pythons are very photogenic and love to photos with you!