Black-Tailed Prairie Dog

Prairie dogs are burrowing rodents that can be found throughout the vast rangelands of Wyoming.  Of the five species of prairie dogs, two species are known to exist in the state, the black-tailed prairie dog, Cynomys ludovicianus and the white-tailed prairie dog Cynomys leucurus.  Both species can be destructive to agriculture and rangeland , however, the majority of the issues in the state are associated with the black-tailed prairie dog in the central and eastern counties. Each prairie dog can consume up to two pounds of forage per month, reducing the forage available to other wildlife and livestock. Prairie dogs are carriers of sylvatic plague, an infectious disease caused by the bacterium that causes bubonic and pneumonic plague in humans. Under favorable conditions, prairie dog towns can become dense and naturally expand into areas that directly compete with agriculture, and their burrowing can be disruptive to irrigation and dangerous to livestock.

 

Prairie dogs were initially identified as a nuisance rodent in Wyoming by the 1886 Territorial Legislature. In 1973 the Wyoming legislature identified the prairie dog as a designated pest under the current weed and pest law. The designation allows the county Weed and Pest Control Districts to work with local landowners in developing management programs that include cost-share agreements.

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