Pop Quiz

1. This space has been placed under quarantine due to prairie-monkey-dog fever. While monkeypox sounds funny, there's reason for concern because:

A. Colorado exports more prairie dogs as pets than any other state.

B. The Centennial State might as well be called Prairie Dog Heaven, because 70 million of the critters exist here.

C. Scientists at Colorado State University have been secretly experimenting with hybrid varmints for two decades.

D. A smuggling ring was recently uncovered at DIA, in which prairie dogs were shipped across the country as "domesticated rabbits."

2. Prairie dogs have long intrigued scientists. Which is not true about the lil' fellas?

A. The rodents live in "colonies."

B. Colonies are divided into "wards."

C. Wards are divided into "coteries."

D. Coteries are divided into "precincts."

3. Another exotic pet has emerged as a carrier of monkeypox. It is the:

A. Siamese hopping mouse.

B. Gambian giant rat.

C. Snake-tailed roly-poly.

D. Forked-tongued polyclod.

4. Despite the spread of the sometimes-fatal monkeypox disease, no cases have been noted in Colorado (yet). One reason may be because:

A. An alert member of the Colorado Department of Health foresaw a possible epidemic eighteen months ago and quietly alerted pet stores to voluntarily ban any sales.

B. We're plumb lucky.

C. Pet prairie dogs are forbidden by state law.

D. Locals prefer marmots, aka "whistle pigs."

5. We know about prairie dogs and giant rats. Who else should you keep an eye on?

A. Miller moths.

B. Rabbits.

C. Republicans.

D. Corvids.

6. Cultural bonus: Before the pox sullied monkeys, they were considered lovable. Match these popular monkeys with their media:

A. Curious George.

B. Rally.

C. Flying.

D. Sock.

AA. Film.

BB. Toy.

CC. Book.

DD. Sports.


1. B. Colorado should be nervous, because the prairie-dog population here swells to an estimated 70 million, give or take a couple mil.

2. D. The other terms are correct. "Precincts" is not, because rodents don't vote -- except maybe in Florida.

3. B. The Gambian giant rat has been labeled a culprit.

4. C. Unlike many other states, Colorado does not allow for prairie dogs to be kept legally. Illegally, however....

5. B. If you guessed Republican, you might be theoretically correct. Rabbits are the true suspects, however.

6. Bonus: A/CC. Curious George is the irrepressible star of children's lit, happily adjusting to captivity after being stolen from his home.

B/DD: Rally monkey was the quirky talisman of the Anaheim Angels on their march to baseball supremacy last year.

C/AA. Flying monkeys continue to haunt people's dreams following their debut in The Wizard of Oz.

D/BB. A sock monkey is a knitted toy that continues to haunt people's waking hours.

Thanks to Travis Tucker for Quiz research.


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