Black-tailed Prairie Dogs

Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus)
Prairie dog colony in a suburb of Denver, Colorado.
Black-tailed Prairie Dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are rodents that belong to the squirrel family, Sciuridae. In fact, they do look like over-sized ground squirrels, but without the stripes!  Although this species is called "black-tailed," only the tip of the animals' tails are black.

They are social animals, living in colonies.  The colonies are a complex of tunnels and burrows and can be home to hundreds of prairie dog families.  Although prairie dogs will eat insects such as grasshoppers, they are primarily herbivores.  Thus, grasslands and prairies are their preferred habitat.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Black-tailed Prairie Dogs are found in 11 States including Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.  The prairie dogs on this page were photographed in the Big Dry Creek Open Space in Westminster, Colorado -- a suburb of Denver.  This is one of many prairie dog colonies on the outskirts of the Denver area.