Prairie dogs again at last

Ein wenig scheu sind sie noch, die neuen Präriehunde im Naturzoo. Doch inzwischen haben sie auch keine Angst mehr von dem Pfau, der im Hintergrund liegt.

You have to bring a little patience. But then the wait was worth it: finally, prairie dogs again.

The prairie dog enclosure, which had been empty for over four months, has new residents: ten of these ground squirrels arrived at the NaturZoo Rheine from the Erfurt Zoopark at the beginning of September.

A prairie dog colony had been living at the NaturZoo for about 20 years until a polecat found access to the enclosure while on a foraging expedition in the spring. Within a few days, it had wiped out the group of about twenty before increased protective measures through electric fencing could take effect. Since prairie dogs only have offspring in the spring, it was necessary to wait until now to be able to rebuild a colony from offspring from other zoos.

The new arrivals present themselves in a setting unfamiliar to regular visitors: Whereas in the past the prairie dog enclosure was a sandy hilly landscape, the ground squirrels now make males out of a densely green grass and herb landscape to see what’s going on in the surrounding area. During the “dormant” period, the plant cover has regenerated – in part due to re-vegetation with wild grass seeding – so the prairie dogs now find cover and food.

In the near future, a few more animals from other zoos are to follow and enlarge the colony a bit more.

Info at