• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Blacktail Prairie Dog

Blacktail Prairie Dogs - Cynomys ludovicianus
Blacktail Prairie Dogs - Cynomys ludovicianus
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NPS Photo by Tom Bean
 

Class

Mammalia
Order Rodentia (2 incisors above, 2 below with distinct space between 2 teeth)
Family Sciuridae (squirrel family) includes chipmucks, woodchucks, marmots.
Genus Cynomys
Species ludovicianus
Name/
History
Considered a pest in most western states, the prairie dog was called "little dog" by French trappers.
Size
Weight (lbs)

Male
2-3

Female
2-3

Young
Achieves
adult size
by fall

Height (in)

11-13

11-13

Tail (in) 3-4
Mate January
Gestation 28-32 days
Birth March-April. Pups hairless with eyes closed, come above ground at 6 weeks.
# young 3-5
Age 8.5 in captivity
Habitat/
Range

Dry upland prairies. Lives in burrows.

Food Grasses, grasshoppers/insects
Predators Black-footed ferret (occasional coyote, bobcat, owl, eagle, rattlesnake) and humans
Disease Rabies, plague
Behavior/
Characteristics
Gregarious, lives in towns. When group is eating, one dog is always on alert. Within towns small groups (coteries) show territorial behavior. Does not hibernate.


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