Adorable Prairie Dog Babies Tussle As They Go On Show

The puppy love moment when zoo fans fell for the adorable antics of a group of black-tailed prairie dog youngsters as they ventured outside for the first time.

The pups, born in Schoenbrunn Zoo, Vienna, Austria, in April, had spent their first few weeks underground in the safety of their burrow.

But when they emerged in this video footage from 31st May they wasted no time in asserting that all-important one pup-manship in the group.

They delighted fans as they tussled and grappled around the enclosure together and with their patient mum.

At times the pups put their snouts together and seemed to kiss, which experts say is a recognition sign only carried out by family members.

And when mum stepped in with what might have looked like some rough and ready play, she was only teaching the youngsters the survival skills they would need in the wild.

In their natural habitat on the Great Plains of North America newborn pups are easily picked off by hawks, wolves, and coyotes.

In the footage, they can be heard practising the shark barks and squeaks that alert the group to an incoming predator.

Schoenbrunn Zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck said in a statement obtained by Newsflash: “Black-tailed prairie dogs owe their name to the characteristic black tip of their tail.

Image shows one of the prairie dogs pups, undated photo. The offspring were born at Schoenbrunn Zoo, in Vienna, Austria, in April 2024. (Daniel Zupanc/Newsflash)

“This is also very clearly visible in the young.”

Prairie dogs shed their fur twice a year, with their thick winter fur replaced by a short summer coat in the spring, explained the zoo.

Head of the Zoological Department Folko Balfanz explained: “The animals can look a little ruffled. But visitors don’t need to be alarmed.”

The zoo, however, was keen to point out the difference between prairie dogs and the
now more popular meerkats.

Where meerkats are related to the mongoose, prairie dogs are cousins of tree squirrels.

Balfanz explained: “Meerkats are native to Africa, are predators, and mainly eat insects.

“Prairie dogs, on the other hand, live in North America, are rodents, and eat mainly plants.

“What both have in common, however, is the typical standing upright to look out for danger.”

Image shows two prairie dogs pups playing together, undated photo. The offspring were born at Schoenbrunn Zoo, in Vienna, Austria, in April 2024. (Daniel Zupanc/Newsflash)

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Georgina JedikovskaSub-EditorGeorgina JedikovskaAgency: Newsflash

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