Black-tailed prairie dog
At the Detroit Zoo
The black-tailed prairie dog habitat in the American Grasslands is one of the most popular immersive experiences at the Detroit Zoo. Kids can get nose-to-nose with the inhabitants inside viewing bubbles placed within the habitat. The prairie dogs can be found east of the bison.
The black-tailed prairie dog has small ears, short legs and sharp claws. As its name suggests, its tail is black. Its fur is mainly brown with some grey mixed in.
Scientific name: Cynomys ludovicianus
Continent: North America
Habitat: Open, arid short-grass plains
Size: 14-16 inches long
Weight: 1-3 pounds
Diet: The black-tailed prairie dog is an herbivore and eats grasses and roots.
Reproduction: Gestation 38 days; one to six pups
Lifespan: Four years in the wild; eight years in captivity
Conservation status: Least Concern
Prairie dogs are very social; when they greet each other, it looks as if they are kissing.
A female prairie dog is only able to breed one day of the year. If she misses that day, she’ll get another chance to mate 13 days later.
These iconic little ground squirrels once lived in vast prairie dog “towns” that spread across miles of prairie in the American west. Their tunnels include various “rooms” that are used for different reasons such as nurseries, toilets, sleeping chambers and listening posts.
Detroit Zoo Prairie Dog in the News
View the feature here
Prairie dogs on WXYZ.com feature