Saturday, September 27, 2014

Black-Tailed Prairie Dog

There are five species of prairie dog: (1) Gunnison's prairie dog found in the four corners region (Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico); (2) white-tailed prairie dog found in western Wyoming, western Colorado and small portions of eastern Utah and southern Montana; (3) Mexican prairie dog found in southern Coahuila and northern San Luis Potosi in Northern Mexico; (4) Utah prairie dog found in portions of Iron, Beaver, Kane, Garfield, Wayne, Piute and Sevier Counties in Utah; and (5) the black-tailed prairie dog found from southern Saskatchewan, Canada to Chihuahua, Mexico, including the U.S. states of Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. 
Black-tailed prairie dog in Badlands NP.
We were recently in South Dakota and had an opportunity to view black-tailed prairie dogs in Custer State Park and Badlands National Park.  My pictures are all from Badlands. The Custer State Park pictures did not turn out as well.
These guys are fat and happy as they prepare for a group hug.
The black-tailed prairie dog is usually tan colored with a lighter belly. The tail has a black tip which gives it its name. Adults usually weigh 1.5 to 3 pounds and are 14 to 17 inches long with a 3 to 4 inch tail.

Tunnel depths are four to five feet deep and colonies have 20 to 57 burrows per acre. Their common predators are coyotes, badgers, bobcats, eagles, hawks and rattlesnakes.
Burrows are quite close together.
When I look at this picture I hear the song "Muskrat Love" by the Captain and Tennille. 


  1. Now I can understand why prairie dogs can be such a problem for farmers. There were hundreds of mounds in an acre, and they could easily decimate a crop in a short period of time.

  2. We have a number of colonies of these prairie dogs near our house. They are quite fun to watch, although locals hate them because of the damage they cause to the land they take over.