Geographical Range North America
Habitat Prairies in open country from the plains to alpine meadows
Scientific Name Cynomys ludovicianus
Conservation Status Common

These highly social rodents live in large colonies called "towns" throughout the grasslands of western North America. While prairie dogs' underground burrows protect them from coyotes and other predators, they also made prairie dogs unpopular with early western settlers. Ranchers considered their holes a "trip hazard" for cattle, so began a massive poisoning campaign.

Although they numbered more than 800 million in 1900, there are fewer than three million prairie dogs today.

Did You Know?

Prairie dogs get their name from their shrill "barking" calls, which they use to communicate with each other.