Prairie Dogs Escape in Ten Minutes

The Maryland Zoo recently unveiled a new prairie dog exhibit. The zoo's prairie dogs had not been on display for four years, until a new $500,000 enclosure was designed and built. Despite a concrete base, aircraft wire, and slick walls, several prairie dogs got out of the habitat within a few minutes! None got away, as zookeepers responded with nets.
Zoo staff members say the animals cannot burrow their way out because the former Kodiak bear environment is essentially a large concrete swimming bowl. The soil depth at Prairie Dog Town ranges from 6 feet to 8 feet.

"The dirt must be deeper than 36 inches in order for the prairie dogs to make their burrows under the frost line," Kranz said. "We took soil samples from the old exhibit so the soils could be matched exactly to what they were used to having."

After foiling the escape attempt, zoo workers adjusted wire fencing and installed more slippery plastic on the walls.

Link -via Boing Boing

(image credit: Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

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Belfast Zoo has free-roaming prairie dogs, with burrows all around the place - I have been told that they were originally escapees many years ago, but have been left to live in peace outside the cages!
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Actually, I saw them a few years back and they were pretty cool. It was the year of the cicadas and if you knocked one into the enclosure they would totally fight for the juicy little treats! :)
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