EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The prairie dogs living in the El Paso Zoo have finally had pups after about two years of living at the zoo.

“We recently had two pups born, with a total of 14 prairie dogs in the exhibit behind me now. We received them from the Sedgwick County Zoo when the Chihuahuan Desert area first opened up almost two years ago and then finally after all this time, we have a litter of pups,” said Anthony Stenger, a zookeeper at the El Paso Zoo.

But it may be difficult to spot a prairie dog pup at the exhibit because they often hide in the burrows.

“They tend to stay close to the opening of a burrow. If you come to the zoo and look for the openings, you may catch a glimpse of the little pups in the exhibit but, again, they will stay really close to the opening of the burrow,” he said.

Stenger said prairie dogs, who are native to the Southwest, do a lot for the environment.

“They are actually considered ecosystem engineers. Out in the open landscape where prairies are natively found, or habitat that they are actually found in, they have this complex burrowing system,” Stenger said. “And after they use the burrow, it provides a home for other species of animals, like the burrowing owls or snakes and even the critically endangered black-footed ferret. But they also help with the soil too in those landscapes.”

To find out more about the prairie dog, visit http://www.elpasozoo.org/.

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