Zoo Buddy: One zookeeper refers to this animal as a chicken nugget

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 9:05 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo is currently home to a baby black-tailed prairie dog named Elvis! They have a whole exhibit full of prairie dogs in their Louisiana Purchase exhibit with an elaborate stretch of tunnels.

“They are basically little chicken nuggets of Central and Western North America,” says Zookeeper Jayme Jordan. “They are food and prey for over 130 different species, so he even looks like a chicken nugget too, they are very tough animals. They do have these super long claws I don’t know if you can see that and they do have very sharp teeth on them.”

Jordan says they actually have very sophisticated vocabulary.

“They have the most extensive vocabulary out of animals ever researched, where if I were approaching the burrow […] they can actually say ‘a short woman wearing a brown shirt is approaching the burrow, you guys need to all hide,’” says Jordan.

They have very intricate tunnel systems in their exhibit at the zoo.

“So we basically have a prairie dog exhibit, and you can see them through the viewing windows of it,” says Lisa Taylor, General Curator at the zoo. “And then we also have two tunnels that the kids can actually crawl through and then pop their heads up in there basically inside the exhibit with a bubble over the top of them and they can look like a prairie dog chit-chatting with the prairie dogs […] and this exhibit is actually located next to the reptile building.”

The zoo is open every day of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and you can call them at (318) 329-2400 for more information. The boat ride, train ride, and reptile building are all back open!

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