Morphology of Burrow Systems: A Comparison of Gunnison's (Cynomys gunnisoni), White-Tailed (C. leucurus), Black-Tailed (C. ludovicianus), and Utah (C. parvidens) Prairie Dogs

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In this paper, we provide a description of six excavated burrow systems of Gunnison's prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni) in northern Arizona. These data plus other data from the literature on structure of the burrow system of Gunnison's prairie dogs, black-tailed prairie dogs (C. ludovicianus), white-tailed prairie dogs (C. leucurus), and Utah prairie dogs (C. parvidens) were used to compare species. Our excavations reveal that burrow systems of Gunnison's prairie dog vary from simple to complex structures, with >50% of burrow systems having multiple aboveground entrances. There was no significant difference among species in total length of burrow. Burrow systems of black-tailed prairie dogs were significantly deeper than burrow systems of Gunnison's prairie dog. On average, burrow systems of Utah and Gunnison's prairie dogs had more aboveground entrances than black-tailed or white-tailed prairie dogs. Overall, the burrow systems for all species were similar in structure, complexity, and underground connectivity.