Wyoming Ecological Services
Mountain-Prairie Region

Federally Listed, Proposed & Candidate Species | Species of Concern | Migratory Birds | All Species By County

 

 

Species of Concern

 

White-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys leucurus)

Distribution of Whit Tailed Prairie Dog in Wyoming

Species information from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Wyoming Distribution by County

Albany, Big Horn, Carbon, Fremont, Hot Springs, Johnson, Lincoln, Natrona, Park, Sublette, Sweetwater, Uinta, Washakie

 

Species Information

In May of 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated a status review for the white-tailed prairie dog (73 FR 24910).  The purpose of the status review is to determine whether the species warrants listing as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). 

The white-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys leucurus) is approximately 13 to 15 inches long and weighs 1 to 3 pounds.  It is a small, stout rodent within the squirrel family.  White-tailed prairie dogs have a short, white-tipped tail, large eyes, a blackish-brown cheek patch above and below each eye, and a tan-brown pelt.  They typically inhabit moderately sloped grasslands, desert grasslands, and shrublands at altitudes ranging from 5,500 to 9,800 feet.  While the white-tailed prairie dog occurs over much of its historic range, colonies are more widely dispersed and population sizes have declined.  The white-tailed prairie dog inhabits areas across western and central Wyoming, northwest Colorado, northeastern Utah, and a small area in south-central Montana.  The majority of the range of this species is encompassed by Wyoming.

We encourage the conservation of prairie dog colonies for their value to the many species that rely on them.  Prairie dogs serve as the primary prey species for the black-footed ferret and several raptors, including the golden eagle (Aguila chrysaetos) and ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis).  Prairie dog colonies and burrows also provide shelter or nest sites for species like the mountain plover (Charadrius montanus) and the burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia).  Please note we are currently updating our list of black-footed ferret ‘block-cleared areas’ – areas of prairie dog colonies for which black-footed ferret surveys are no longer required.  If white-tailed prairie dog towns or complexes greater than 200 acres will be disturbed, please contact our office to determine if surveys for ferrets are recommended.

 

Last updated: June 13, 2014