• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

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  • Trail Closure Information

    The Highland Creek Trail is closed. Backcountry Zones 1 and 2 are closed to all off-trail travel and use. The Sanctuary and Centennial Trails remain open to through traffic.

  • Temporary Road Closure Information

    Oct. 18 & 19: NPS 5 and 6 are closed for the entire weekend. Monday, Oct. 20, through Wednesday, Oct. 22, NPS 5 will be closed from Highway 87 to NPS 6. Highway 87 will be closed from Road 342 (Beaver Creek Road) north to the park boundary.

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?

Natural Entrance of Wind Cave

Winds caused by changes in barometric pressure are what give Wind Cave its name. These winds have been measured at the cave's walk-in entrance at over 70 mph. The winds at the natural entrance of the cave attracted the attention of Native Americans and early settlers.