New arrivals prove big hit

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PARENTS Nuzzle and Scratch’s large prarie dog litter is proving a big hit with vistors to a popular Wearside attraction.

The 14 pups have arrived at Down At The Farm, in Houghton, and have already stolen the hearts of staff and visiting families.

Farm owner Catherine Weightman said: “All the children who come here have fallen in love with our gorgeous little prairie dog pups, including my own children.

“People are really going crazy about these little darlings. We now know why they call it puppy love.”

Prairie dogs are burrowing squirrels, usually found in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, and live in underground tunnel systems. They are social creatures, which bark and chirp in a complex communication system.

They are said to love human company and seem to regard humans as members of their colony. They are even thought give each other a kiss when they touch teeth as a way of saying hello.

The puppies will eventually grow about 16 inches in length but for now they are just babies in need of some nurturing from mum.

Down At The Farm has a wide range of animals – from traditional farm breeds to more unusual pets – including an alpaca, sheep, pigs, deer, racoons and even a giant tortoise. For more information visit the website