This is an interesting article about a squirrel with malocclusion. Over the years we have captured prairie dogs with similar problems. Sometimes a simple clipping of the teeth sets them to right. Other times the malocclusion cannot be rectified and the animal cannot be released. In these cases the prairie dog and the person fostering it face a decision of removing the incisors or a lifetime of trimming. Jim T previously and is currently fostering such a prairie dog.
Here’s the original note that appeared on our Facebook page: Congrats to Mikey! As he was processing in today, doing the 2/4/20 (2 eyes, 4 teeth, 20 toes) he noted that the PD had ram’s horn teeth. The disorder is usually caused by dislocation of the teeth preventing them from meeting and keeping the upper and lower incisors in check. In this particular case the PD had been born without lower teeth, or had lost them at some point in its life. Eventually they would have grown through roof of the mouth and caused death by starvation or infection. YB and C Rex, trimmed the teeth but without lower teeth to keep the uppers in check, it is likely this this PD will not be released. While I don’t have a picture the upper teeth were about 1″ long and curved back into the mouth. The fact that this PD did not starve indicates that he was able to get enough nutrition using his molars.
It is reassuring that the treatment seems to work well for prairie dogs as well. Read More: Treatment of malocclusion in squirrel
It’s a great article, and the prairie dogs are fascinating (and adorable) little creatures, but with all due respect to Doctor Dolittle, the assertion that non-human animals have language is indeed nonsense.
Animals have no language, despite the occasional complexity of their communication. The error these scientists and journalists make in attributing language to animals is an easy error to make, but it is an error nonetheless. The error lies in the failure to distinguish between designators and signals.
Read More: Language
Use of an oral vaccine that protects prairie dogs from the plague will be expanded on the Charles M. Russell and UL Bend National Wildlife Refuges in Montana under a plan proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The new plan would allow for vaccine distribution on wilderness areas within the refuges and on nearby private lands when requested by landowners. The Service has completed an environmental assessment for the action and is seeking public comment on the proposal.
Read more: Vaccine
Grief and mourning are more widespread among nonhuman animals (animals) than previously thought (please also see). Today, while riding my bike north of Boulder, I observed an interaction between an adult Black-tailed prairie dog who looked to be a female and a youngster who had been killed by a car. It looked like the accident had happened a few minutes before I happened on the sorrowful scene. I was astounded by what I saw, so I stopped and dictated some notes into my phone that went as follows:
I just watched an adult prairie dog who I think is a female trying to retrieve the carcass of a smaller prairie dog off the road five times – she clearly was trying to remove the carcass from the road – I stopped and finally after the cars stopped she dragged the carcass off the road, walked about 10 feet away, looked at me and looked at the carcass, went back to the carcass and touched it lightly with her forepaws, and walked away emitting a very high-pitched vocalization.
I waited a few minutes to see if she would go back to the carcass and she began to move toward it, looked at me, and stopped — so I left because I didn’t want to disrupt her saying good-bye if that was what she was going to do — minutes later, when I finally caught up with another rider who was about 100 meters ahead of me, he told me he saw her try to remove the carcass from the road twice.
Read more: Mourn