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threatened and/or endangered

Black-tailed Prairie Dog Cynomys ludovicianus


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Black-tailed Prairie Dog
credit: Simple Steve/CCSA

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Family: Sciuridae, Squirrels view all from this family

Description A large prairie dog with a black tail tip. Contact call between individuals is a “we-oo.” Burrow entrances are surrounded by a large mound of dirt shaped into domes.

Dimensions 360-430mm, 70-90mm, 575-1490g; / 340-400mm, 60-90mm, 765-1030g

Habitat Grasslands & prairies

Range Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas

Discussion Dormant in winter, but does not truly hibernate, and can be seen above ground on warm winter days. Clips vegetation very short around colonies for an unobstructed view. Has the most complex social behavior of all prairie dogs. Prior to settlement of the west, very large colonies called “towns” were huge, with the largest estimated to contain 400 million individuals covering 65,000km_. Lives at high densities where not persecuted. Prefers shortgrass to mid-grass prairies.