Are prairie dogs a pet for one person
Husbandry: Prairie dogs need a lot of space
Keeping prairie dogs as pets is not too difficult, but you should do your research and think twice before buying.
The animals also need close contact with their keeper. Therefore, keeping them is a lot more complex than keeping other small animals such as guinea pigs or hamsters. It should also be remembered that prairie dogs can live between eight and twelve years old in captivity.
Prairie dogs are also pack animals, which means you have to keep at least two animals. Prairie dogs kept alone can quickly develop behavioral disorders and even die of loneliness. It is better to keep the rodents in small groups.
Requires a lot of space
When it comes to housing prairie dogs, don't underestimate the space it takes up. The rodents need a relatively large enclosure. According to a report by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the area for three prairie dogs must not be less than 20 square meters. At least one square meter more space is required for each additional animal. This applies to both indoor and outdoor enclosures. Keeping them in a small animal cage is therefore not permitted.
In any case, it is important that the rodents always have enough space to roam. If they don't get this, prairie dogs can show behavior changes quite quickly. For example, they become sluggish, which in turn can lead to obesity.
The equipment of the enclosure
The enclosure should also have a grown, i.e. untouched, floor and have sufficient nesting material. Prairie dogs dig themselves into the ground and build a burrow there. If it is an indoor enclosure, you must use a suitable underground in which the prairie dogs can burrow. You can also offer the animals artificial burrows.
You can keep prairie dogs in open-topped enclosures. However, you have to make sure that the animals cannot climb over the boundary. In addition, you need - similar to rabbits - digging protection so that the little digging experts don't just dig an exit under the fence.
Prairie dogs and their wild origins
At present, almost all prairie dogs are still imported from America, and most of them are wild-caught. Because of their "wild" origins, prairie dogs can be very difficult to train and tame, especially in the early days.
Because of this, it can also lead to severe bites, which are very painful and may require a visit to the hospital. In addition, after reaching sexual maturity, the males can experience major changes in behavior during the mating and pre-mating period. These are sometimes expressed in enormous aggressiveness towards everything that comes too close to the cage - including the carer. For this reason, prairie dogs are not suitable for children's hands either.
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