As Lewis and Clark explored the grasslands of the Midwest, they encountered thousands of mounds and what they call “barking squirrels”. A strange site and difficult to explain, the group decided to capture one of these unusual creatures and send it to President Jefferson. This proved to be a difficult task as the prairie dog would scurry into one of their hundreds of burrows at the first sign of peril.

Not realizing the vastness of the prairie dog network of tunnels the travelers attempted to capture one of these furry creatures by digging into the mounds, only to come up empty handed.

After other attempts a prairie dog was captured when the explorers poured several barrels of water into the labyrinth to flood one of the animals out.

The captured prairie dog began its long journey to Washington. A boat ride down the Missouri River to St. Louis was followed by a transfer to another boat, which took him down the Mississippi River. The destination was New Orleans. Now aboard a ship this rodent traveled up the Atlantic Ocean to Baltimore. A wagon ride and three months after capture, the prairie dog reached Washington. After meeting with an amused President Jefferson, the prairie dog was placed on public display in Philadelphia.   Also see the Prairie Dog PDF Map

This text from The Sioux City Art Center's “Prairie Dog Quest” Home page

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Last Update on December 17, 2002  15:50 UTC (19:50 am CST)