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BLACK - TAILED PRAIRIE DOG

BLACK-TAILED PRAIRIE DOGCynomys ludovicianus

Conservation Status: Lower Risk / Near Threatened

statusbar_nearthreatened copy

CLASS

Mammalia

ORDER

Rodentia

FAMILY

Sciuridae

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General Characteristics

Color: 

Brown or reddish brown, whitish below 

Size:

14.0 – 15.7 inches 

Weight:

Male 26.5 – 31.9 ounces; Female 24.3 – 28.9 ounces 

Average Lifespan: 

8 years (females), 5 years (males)

Captive Lifespan:

Up to 11 years

Distribution:

Saskatchewan, Montana to eastern Nebraska, south to Mexico

Habitat:

Open, flat, and arid short-grass plains

Reproduction:

Mating: 

Feburary – March

Gestation/Incubation:

35 days

Litter/Clutch Size:

1-6

Mature: 

Weaned 37 – 51 days; Sexually 2 years

Diet:

Grasses

Behavior:

Live in family groups called coteries consisting of a single adult male, 2 – 3 adult females, and several nonbreeding yearlings and juveniles. Short torpor (1 – 3 days) in winter.

Teaching Facts:

1. Although viewed as a pest by ranchers and farmers, wild ungulates prefer to graze at prairie dog towns because the plant productivity and quality is better.

2. 12 distinct calls.