Prairie Dogs

Did you know?

  • Colorado is home to three species of prairie dogs.
  • Prairie dogs are “barking” squirrels, not dogs, and are among our most “watchable” wildlife.
  • Prairie dogs are very social critters and live in closely knit family groups called "coteries." These coteries are grouped together into neighborhoods and several neighborhoods make up a colony or town. Some towns cover several hundred acres.
  • Prairie dog burrows are up to seven feet deep and 16 feet long with one or more volcano-shaped entrances that shed water and catch wind for ventilation. The tunnels themselves contain separate "rooms" for sleeping, rearing young, storing food and eliminating waste.
  • Many animals including salamanders, toads, rabbits, snakes and insects depend on prairie dog burrows for shelter from heat, cold and predators.

Tips for coexisting with prairie dogs:

  • It is the responsibility of the property owner to exclude prairie dogs from their property.
  • Prairie dogs are opportunistic herbivores. Overcrowding and drought can force hungry prairie dogs into adjacent landscapes where they can find delicious non-native alternatives to their normal prairie fare.
  • Mowed areas and short landscaping can encourage prairie dogs. Taller grasses and landscaping with plenty of places for potential predators to hide are much less appealing to prairie dogs.
  • Add tall plants and shrubs to create an unwelcoming barrier.
  • Keeping prairie dogs out over the long term may require fencing with both visual and burrowing barriers.
  • Spend time in your yard. Simple disturbances such as you, your pet, children at play or irrigation systems can discourage prairie dogs from foraging or colonizing your yard.