• 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
Click on picture for more information
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.


Did You Know?

American bison on the Wind Cave National Park prairie

The American bison is the largest terrestrial mammal in North America. Male bison can weigh a ton and can run 35 miles per hour. Do not approach bison. They weigh more and can outrun you. More...