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Cynomys gunnisoni

Gunnison's Prairie Dog

Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae

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Conservation Status: Least Concern.

In the spring, when Gunnison's prairie dogs emerge from hibernation, they eat new, green plants. Later in the summer, as plants begin to turn brown and dry out, they concentrate on flowers and seeds. Their colonies are made up of clans, each with an adult male, several females, and their young. A clan has its own burrows and feeding sites. When population density is low, clan territories have little overlap and territorial defense is not a high priority. When there are as many as 60 prairie dogs per hectare, territories are aggressively defended, with all members of a clan, young and old, actively participating.

Also known as:
Zuni Prairie Dog

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are larger than females.

Average: 335 mm males; 325 mm females
Range: 317-390 mm males; 309-338 mm females

Average: 816 g males; 644 g females
Range: 460-1,300 g males; 465-750 g females


Baird, S.F., 1857 [1858].  Mammals. In Reports of explorations and surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, p. 334.  Vol. 8, Pt. 1. Mammals. Beverly Tucker Printer, Washington, D.C., 8(1):1-757 + 43 plates.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Cynomys gunnisoni

Image of Cynomys gunnisoni
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