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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Prairie Dogs

Today I ran across and article on Soil Change Induced by Prairie Dogs across Three Ecological Sites.  The Link is too the abstract, but the full article is available.  It is not really surprising that prairie dogs affect the soil. Animals can be a big part of soil formation in some of our soils.  Our rich prairies soils are not only affected by rodents, but by ants and worms as well.  I have seen worm casts as deep as 12 feet in well drained soils. (THat was as deep as we could get with the probe truck)  The animals mix the soil, move the nutrients, and breack down the organic matter so that nutrients are more available to plants.  Huge ant hills in prairies lead us to believe that ants also played a big role in formation of prairie soils. THe photo was taken last summer while on vacation at Caprock Canyons State Park near Quitaque, Texas. There is a large colony of prairie dogs right next to the road.  We had a great time watching them and trying to get a decent photo. 
Prairie Dog

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