IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR, as juvenile prairie dogs have been popping up from their nursery burrows for the first time. Babies remain underground for 5 1/2 weeks after birth, during which time they grow as their mother nurses them. They are almost completely weaned by the time they first come blinking into the sun in early June, and are feeding on grasses from day one (CHILDCARE).
As for the mothers, they are still lactating and nursing their young but are doing so less often, and spending more and more time away from their burrows. Territoriality between females also wanes considerably during this time, as juveniles are now better able to defend themselves from infanticide (INFANTICIDE).
The killing of babies does, however, still happen throughout the summer, especially if a juvenile wanders too far from its natal territory. We are still uncovering the reasons behind why especially adult males will kill wandering babies.