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Prairie Dog croppedPrairie Dogs are burrowing rodents that live in colonies called towns. The most abundant and commonly found species is the black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).

Identification
  • Length: 14” to 17” long.
  • Weight: 2 to 3 lbs.
  • Tan hide with a white or buff belly.
  • Tips of tails covered with short black hair.
  • Short ears.
  • Large black eyes.
Behavior
  • Prairie Dogs are diurnal.
  • Most species are active year round, but may briefly go dormant during the coldest parts of the year.
  • Prairie Dogs dig intricate burrows systems with funnel shaped openings of 3” to 4” in diameter.
  • Burrows are typically inhabited by 1 male and multiple females with offspring.
  • Prairie Dogs are almost exclusively herbivores, dining on native vegetation.
Problems
  • Prairie dogs feed on many of the same grasses that livestock feed on.
  • Dietary overlap ranges from 64% to 90%
  • Prairie dogs begin feeding on pastures and rangeland in early spring, reducing available forage
  • Prairie dog burrows increase soil erosion and are a threat to livestock, machinery, and horses with riders.
  • Damage may also occur to ditch banks, field trails, and roads
  • Prairie Dogs have tested positive for plague, which is most often transmitted by fleas, which can be fatal to humans
Reproduction
  • Sexual Maturity is reached in 1 to 2 years.
  • Gestation period is 30 days.
  • Prairie Dogs have 1 litter per year.
  • Life span is 3 to 5 years. 
Control Methods
  • Hunting Parties
    • Typically, not cost effective.
    • May slow population growth in a given year.
    • Not good for eliminating entire populations.
    • Not good for large infestations or for long term control.
  • Fumigants
    • Only work well for small infestations or as a secondary method of control after baiting.
    • Only effective in compact and moist soils.
    • Can be dangerous to non-target species.
    • Expensive.
  • Natural Predators
    • Coyotes
    • Bobcats
    • Black-Footed Ferrets
    • Eagles
    • Falcons
  • Sylvatic Plague
    • First documented in Lubbock, TX in 1946.
    • 13% of human plague cases are attributed to Prairie Dogs according to the CDC.
    • Plague outbreaks cause nearly 100% mortality in Dog Towns.
    • Plague has been transmitted to humans.
  • Poison Baits
    • ZP AG contains the active ingredient Zinc Phosphide
    • Zinc Phosphide is an effective toxicant for controlling Prairie Dogs
    • Pre-baiting is typically recommended for best results
    • ZP Ag is a Restricted Use Pesticide - see product label for complete application details