Black-tailed Prairie Dog
Location: Grasslands National Park (West Block)
- Prairie dogs have excellent hearing at low frequencies; as low as 4 Hz. This allows them to hear predators even in their burrows.
- The gestation period for prairie dogs is about thirty-five days. They are dependent on their parents for the next five to six weeks. The young emerge from their burrows in June or July.
- Colonies of prairie dogs are made up of social units called coteries. There will be one male with a few females and their young. They act as a family and occupy around one acre of land.
- The prairie dog is an important part of the grasslands ecosystem. It provides a “critical link” between other species living in the grasslands. First, they are prey for hawks, badgers, coyotes, foxes. Secondly, their old tunnels provide shelter for rattlesnakes, burrowing owls, black widow spiders, and short-horned lizards.
- Grasses and vegetation make up almost their entire diet. Their preferences to specific grass types change on availability and season. Prairie dogs will eat bugs, grasshoppers, and beetles from time to time.
- Within Canada, black-tailed prairie dogs are only found in southwestern Saskatchewan, in the Grasslands National Park area. This is the northern tip of their range which extends south through the Interior Plains to northern Mexico.