The black-tailed prairie dog is the most common prairie dog species in the Chihuahuan Desert. Prairie dogs are a “keystone species” because their extensive burrows benefit over 100 species of wildlife including insects, snakes, lizards, Burrowing Owls, Golden Eagles, badgers and coyotes.
- The historic range of the black-tailed prairie dog was from southern Saskatchewan to Chihuahua, Mexico, and included portions of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.
- They have very sensitive hearing that allows them to detect predators early, especially while in their burrows.
- These animals are actually a species of ground squirrel. They are named “dog” because of their alarm bark.
- The largest prairie dog colony ever recorded spanned over 25,000 square miles was home to an estimated 400 million prairie dogs.
- Grasses and leafy vegetation make up 98 percent of the diet for black-tailed prairie dogs. They occasionally eat grasshoppers, cutworms, bugs and beetles.
Species: C. ludovicianus
Black-tailed prairie dogs are native to grassland habitats in North America. They inhabit shortgrass prairie, mixed-grass prairie, sagebrush steppe, and desert grassland.