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Prairie Dogs of the Rocky Mountains
Prairie Dog - Rocky Mountains - Estes Park,  Colorado


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Black Tailed Prairie Dog *Cynomys ludovicianus* These playful little critters build elaborate underground networks of tunnels. They live within the shortgrass prairies of the south western United States.

Prairie Dogs are designated as candidate for the Endangered Species List for their entire population. Many people often shoot these animals for sport. That activity should be strongly discouraged. Sadly, prairie dog populations have been reduced to areas only about 2 percent of their historical range. On average, prairie dogs can live for seven to eight years.

Prairie Dogs are an important part of the ecosystem in which they live. They help fertilize the soil as well as increase the protein content and digestibility of range land grasses on which they and more than 100 other species depend on for life.

Black-tailed prairie dog lives in huge "towns", or "colonies". These towns may contain as many as several thousand individual prairie dogs, covering areas 100 acres or more at times. Their towns are divided into different territorial neighborhoods, or "wards." These wards are composed of several "coteries," or family groups, of one male, one to four females, and their young of up to two years of age.

Prairie Dogs are very vocal. They have as many as 11 distinct calls, which include chirps, chatters, squeals and snarls.

No other Prairie Dog has a black tipped tail. They are pinkish brown on their backs, whitish cream color on their undersides with a slim, sparsely haired tail with black tip unique among other prairie dogs. They have short, rounded ears and large black eyes. The black tailed prairie dog is large amongst the other prairie dogs. They can grow to approximately 15 inches tall and weigh 32 to 50+ ounces.

Black-tailed prairie dogs do not hibernate, they only go into a mild torpor during severe cold or strong snowstorms.

View the Prairie Dogs of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Prairie Dog - Rocky Mountains - Estes Park,  Colorado


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