Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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  Rodentia · Sciuridae · Cynomys ludovicianus
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Cynomys ludovicianus

Black-tailed Prairie Dog

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae

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Black-tailed Prairie Dog
Credit: Wind Cave National Park
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Conservation Status: Least Concern. Although there are still large populations of this species, some have disappeared as a result of human activity.

Black-tailed prairie dogs exhibit the most complex social behavior of all prairie dogs. Social groups called "coteries" live together in very large colonies called "towns." The largest town ever recorded stretched for 65,000 square km (25,000 square miles) under Texas prairie. An estimated 400 million prairie dogs lived there. Topographical or vegetational features serve to subdivide the towns into clusters of coteries. The members of each coterie cooperate to defend their territory against others. Black-tailed prairie dogs are active all year, although they may spend extended periods of time underground in winter. They breed in February or March and usually have 3 or 4 young, who are first seen aboveground in May or June.

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are larger than females.

Average: 387.8 mm males; 371.2 mm females
Range: 358-429 mm males; 340-400 mm females

Average: 907g males; 863 g females
Range: 575-1,490 g males; 765-1,030 g females


Ord, G., 1815.  "North American Zoology"  in A new geographical, historical, and commercial grammar, p. 292; (W. Guthrie, ed.), 2nd ed., Lippincott, Philadelphia, 2:291-361, p. 292.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Cynomys ludovicianus

Image of Cynomys ludovicianus
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