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Standing black-tailed prairie dog adults, at 10 to 15 inches long excluding the tail, are distinctly pear shaped. Their weight can fluctuate from 11 to 53 ounces from spring to fall. They are yellowish to reddish to dark brown in color. The tail is usually more than 20 percent of body length with a black tip. Males are about 15 percent bigger than females.

Black-tailed prairie dogs live in a narrow belt from southern Canada to northern Mexico in the low-grass prairie. Typical colonies have more than 1000 individuals. They feed on wheat grass, buffalo grass, scarlet globe mallow, and underground roots. These prairie dogs do not hibernate as do some of the other prairie dog and ground squirrel species. Therefore, black-tailed prairie dogs are out feeding and sunning every month of the year.

Black-tailed prairie dogs are not endangered but they are rare. Learn how you can support black-tailed prairie dogs by making a donation through Friends of the National Zoo's ADOPT A SPECIES program!

Black-tailed Prarie Dogs by Jessie Cohen / NZP
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