Categories
BLOG

pot gut

Pot gut

I hadn’t heard of a potgut until living in Utah for many years. My boyfriend (now husband) and I were at the top of one of the lifts at the Sundance Ski Resort late in the season and there was the cutest little prairie dog looking thing sitting up by a picnic bench waiting for a handout. Mark says, “hey, look at the potgut”. I say, “what the heck are you talking about?”. He says, “the potgut”. I say, “you mean the prairie dog”. And the conversation continued with my insisting it was a prairie dog and Mark correcting me, repeatedly. There was even a bet thrown in there for good measure, which I summarily lost. I pretty much insisted I was right until we had time to get to a computer and look it up. Good thing I’m not stubborn.

Technically, a potgut is neither potgut nor prairie dog, but is the nickname for a Uinta ground squirrel (Spermophilus armatus) that is cute and full of personality. They are hungry little buggers and even if you don’t feed them and they love racing up to you, checking you out and scampering away. They’ll do this for a while before they (or you) get bored with it. Potguts have a very limited range, living only in southwestern Montana, western Wyoming, southeastern Idaho and northern central Utah. There seem to be an abundance of them in the Uinta and Wasatch mountains if you look at the right time of year.

You don’t get to see potguts for very long because they both hibernate in winter and aestivate (become dormant) in summer. Adults begin aestivation in July and by September you won’t see any potguts above ground. Smart critters, that’s when the snow starts falling around here. After aestivation, they hibernate and don’t come out until March or April. This means that potguts only remain active above ground about three and a half months out of the year. No wonder they’re so hungry!

Potguts are not endangered or threatened, though some farmers probably wouldn’t mind if their numbers dwindled. They are crop munchers and they love veggies and seeds. Right now, it’s time for them to come out of hiding, so if you live in an area with potguts, keep an eye out for them.

photo courtesy of naturfoto

Share this:

  • Print
  • More
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn

Like this:

Related

About Katie Noble

4 Responses to Animal of the Week! What is a Potgut?

Katie, thank you for the info about the Pot Guts. My husband and I live at Strawberry Reservoir and I love to feed the fuzzy guts (pot guts) They train quite easily. I’ve trained them to eat Ritz Crackers out of my hand but this summer they learned to climb the pine tree after watching the chipmunks get the sunflower seeds out of the bird feeder. They prefer the expensive seeds to the generic brand crackers. It wasn’t unusual to have 6 pot guts on the bird feeder at one time while others ate off of the ground, except that sneaky one that would get into the garage and eat right out of the sack. They aren’t as agile as the chipmunks and tend to fall out of the tree sometimes but their comical to watch.

I’ve trained a few to play patty cake with me. I don’t know how I’ll explain the bite on my finger to my doctor should that ever happen.

They go into hibernation about mid August but will dig through 4 feet of snow the first of March to check out the conditions and see if there are any sage brush to eat yet.

http://greenanswers.com/q/169715/animals-wildlife/what-purpose-do-squirrels-serve
“The cute little Potguts”….although I am a lover of all living creatures.
I enjoyed your article, having lived in Park City for awhile and trying to survive the Potgut population with dogs!!

Ha – I was just explaining potguts to someone and sent them a link to your blog without reading it 😉 I just went back and discovered your reference to Sundance. I worked there for several years and was constantly amused by the number of them. The whole front lawn (Ray’s Lawn) may collapse one day given the potgut infrastructure that must exist 🙂 There were a couple of dogs that would come down from the private homes in the summer; they would spend the whole day watching and chasing them. I would take them water as they would be panting like crazy but too obsessed to leave for even a moment. At the end of the day, their owner would come and collect them and take them home – it was awesome 🙂

I hadn't heard of a potgut until living in Utah for many years. My boyfriend (now husband) and I were at the top of one of the lifts at the Sundance Ski Resort late in the season and there was the cutest little prairie dog looking thing sitting up by a picnic bench waiting for…

Anti-inflammatory capacity of selected lactobacilli in experimental colitis is driven by NOD2-mediated recognition of a specific peptidoglycan-derived muropeptide

Affiliation

  • 1 Bactéries Lactiques et Immunité des Muqueuses, Centre d’Infection et d’Immunité de Lille, Institut Pasteur de Lille, 1 rue du Pr Calmette, 59019 Lille Cedex, France.
  • PMID: 21471573
  • DOI: 10.1136/gut.2010.232918

Anti-inflammatory capacity of selected lactobacilli in experimental colitis is driven by NOD2-mediated recognition of a specific peptidoglycan-derived muropeptide

  • Search in PubMed
  • Search in NLM Catalog
  • Add to Search

Authors

Affiliation

  • 1 Bactéries Lactiques et Immunité des Muqueuses, Centre d’Infection et d’Immunité de Lille, Institut Pasteur de Lille, 1 rue du Pr Calmette, 59019 Lille Cedex, France.
  • PMID: 21471573
  • DOI: 10.1136/gut.2010.232918

Erratum in

  • Gut. 2011 Oct;60(10):1444. Fernandez, Elise Macho [corrected to Macho Fernandez, Elise]

Abstract

Background and aims: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been linked to a loss of tolerance towards the resident microflora. Therapeutic use of probiotics is known to be strain specific, but precise mechanisms remain unclear. The role of NOD2 signalling and the protective effect of Lactobacillus peptidoglycan (PGN) and derived muropeptides in experimental colitis were evaluated.

Methods: The anti-inflammatory capacity of lactobacilli and derived bacterial compounds was evaluated using the 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) colitis model. The role of NOD2, MyD88 and interleukin 10 (IL-10) in this protection was studied using Nod2(-/-), MyD88(-/-) and Il10-deficient mice, while induction of regulatory dendritic cells (DCs) was monitored through the expansion of CD103(+) DCs in mesenteric lymph nodes or after adoptive transfer of bone marrow-derived DCs. The development of regulatory T cells was investigated by following the expansion of CD4(+)FoxP3(+) cells. High-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry were used to analyse the PGN structural differences.

Results: The protective capacity of strain Lactobacillus salivarius Ls33 was correlated with a local IL-10 production and was abolished in Nod2-deficient mice. PGN purified from Ls33 rescued mice from colitis in an IL-10-dependent manner and favoured the development of CD103(+) DCs and CD4(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells. In vitro Ls33 PGN induced IL-10-producing DCs able to achieve in vivo protection after adoptive transfer in a NOD2-dependent way. This protection was also correlated with an upregulation of the indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase immunosuppressive pathway. The protective capacity was not obtained with PGN purified from a non-anti-inflammatory strain. Structural analysis of PGNs highlighted in Ls33 the presence of an additional muropeptide, M-tri-Lys. The synthesised ligand protected mice from colitis in a NOD2-dependent but MyD88-independent manner.

Conclusions: The results indicated that PGN and derived muropeptides are active compounds in probiotic functionality and might represent a useful therapeutic strategy in IBD.

The results indicated that PGN and derived muropeptides are active compounds in probiotic functionality and might represent a useful therapeutic strategy in IBD.