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Wildlife Black-tailed Prairie Dog Page


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 Black-tailed Prairie Dog
 Cynomys ludovicianus

Habitat: Black-tailed prairie dogs form large colonies or "towns" in shortgrass or mixed prairie.

Diet: Black-tailed prairie dogs consume large quantities of annual forbs and native grasses (Bonham and Lerwick 1976, Gold 1976, Hansen and Gold 1977, Klatt 1971, Klatt and Hein 1978, Uresk 1984). Grasses and sedges are preferred. Western wheatgrass, buffalo-grass, grama, Russian-thistle, pigweed, and ragweed are common food items. During late fall, winter, and spring, these prairie dogs frequently dig and eat roots of forbs and grasses.

Description: Black-tailed prairie dogs are reddish cinnamon in summer to more reddish in winter. The venter is a paler buffy brown, yellow, or white. Albino individuals are not uncommon. The tail is long compared to that of other prairie dogs and is conspicuously tipped with black to brownish black hairs. As with many mammals in Colorado, the summer pelage is short and rather coarse. Winter pelage is longer and more lax. Measurements are: total length 336-410 mm; length of tail 60-93 mm; length of hindfoot 48-68 mm; length of ear 8-14 mm; weight 525-1,350 g.

Range in Colorado: Black-tailed prairie dogs are not uncommon in most of the counties of the eastern plains, especially those immediately along the Front Range. Some of the highest densities presently found in Colorado are on lands held by developers adjacent to or within urban areas such as Denver, Boulder, and Aurora.


Status: State Special Concern


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Black-tailed Prairie Dog Specific Links
  GAP Habitat Map


General Wildlife Links
  Colorado Audubon
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