Tailed Prairie Dog *Cynomys
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
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.
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
the Prairie Dogs of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado