Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus)
Prairie dogs are burrowing rodents similar to ground squirrels that live in large colonies. They get the name “dog” from their habit of barking out greetings and warnings. The Lewis & Clark expedition noted a large colony of these animals, attributing the name Prairie Dog to the French trappers in the area. Their genus name Cynomys has a Greek root and translates to dog mouse, an accurate description.
These little guys were all over the place, popping out, barking out greetings and warnings. No wonder the coyotes have a den in the area – there’s a ready food supply living next door.
When we first arrived, they all ducked for cover, but eventually curiosity got the best of them and they acclimated quickly to our presence and seemed unconcerned after a few minutes.
The tough part of photographing them was the tall grass and plants around their burrows, making for busy and distracting backgrounds. Fortunately, there were enough flowers out to make for some colorful, busy backgrounds.