Prairie Dogs As Pets?
I've heard Paul on the Breakfast Flakes talk about his need for controlling the Prairie Dog population on his ranch, and he's not alone. Many ranchers in Montana and beyond have issues with these little things. They can damage crops, but their tunnels can lead to issues with livestock as well. I was reading this article which discusses the pros and cons of prairie dogs. In the article, a Texas veterinarian says there are three or four times a year where he has to treat or euthanize a horse or cattle that has fallen because of a prairie dog hole. That's some expensive damage and an obvious reason for ranchers to want rid of them.
I'm no rancher, but I noticed a pack of these (six or seven) out by the Community Garden when I went by to do some watering today. The garden is fenced, but certainly not prairie dog proof. I decided to do some Googling to find out how bad they can be for a typical garden. Some of the top results were a bout "Pet Prairie Dogs". I shouldn't have been surprised; I mean, I can remember my Aunt Martha's pet raccoon and my great grandmother's pet squirrel, both of which are typically more of a nuisance than a pet. Still, it made me wonder how many (if any) pet prairie dogs there are in our area.
In case you missed it, here is the one and only prairie dog that stayed put long enough for a photo. The others scattered.
If you're curious about what kind of pet a prairie dog would make, here's one of the many youtube videos:
Regulations on prairie dogs (shooting them or keeping them) in Montana can be found here.