White-tailed Prairie Dog - Cynomys leucurus
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Photo Details
June 25, 2003, Ouray NWR, Uintah County, Utah - © Nicky Davis

  • Prairie Dogs are stocky, pinkish buff mixed with black above; slightly paler below.
  • <>Short, white-tipped tail; terminal half entirely white.
  • Dark patches above and below eyes,
  • yellowish nose.
  • Small ears.
  • Length 13 to 14 inches, Weight  24-40 oz.

Prairie Dogs form colonies and spend much of their time in underground burrows, often  hibernating during the winter. The species breeds in the spring, and young can be seen above ground in early June. The white-tailed prairie-dog's diet is composed of grasses   and and bulbs. In turn, the white-tailed prairie-dog is the main food source of the Utah population of the endangered black-footed ferret. Reference UDWS

The white-tailed prairie dog has vanished from 92 percent of its historical habitat, and is headed for extinction in part due to Sylvatic plague which is now present throughout their range. Prairie dogs are extremely susceptible to this disease. Their decline is also  from decades of human persecution, including recreational target shooting and aggressive poisoning efforts by the federal government and private citizen alike. Oil and gas drilling, suburban sprawl, and conversion of the land to agriculture. reference :Native Ecosystems

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