Prairie dog (genus Cynomys)
There are five different species of prairie dogs. They live in altitudes ranging from 2,000-10,000ft above sea level. In the areas in which they live can get as high as 100 degrees in the summer and as low as -35 degrees in the winter. As prairie dogs live in areas that are prone to environmental threats including hailstorms, blizzards, and floods as well as drought and prairie fires, burrows provide important protection for them. Prairie dog burrows can serve to control temperature as they are 5-10 degrees Celsius during the winter and 15-25 degrees Celsius in the summer. Prairie dog tunnel systems help channel rainwater into the water table to prevent runoff and erosion, and can also serve to change the composition of the soil in a region by reversing soil compaction that can be a result of cattle grazing.
Prairie dogs live in large colonies or "towns” collections of prairie dog families that can span hundreds of acres.
It is possible that prairie dogs alarm others to the presence of a predator so they can protect themselves.
I took this shot at a Crocodile Farm just outside the entrance to Sun City/South Africa.