Illustration by Gerald Rapp & Cullen Inc./Laszlo Kubinyi
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
Cynomys ludovicianus ludovicianus
Subspecies of Prairie Dog
September 7, 1804, in Boyd County, Nebraska.
Large prairie dog. Pinkish brown above; whitish or buffy white below. Slim, sparsely haired tail with black tip unique among prairie dogs. Short, rounded ears; large black eyes. Length: 1416.38 in (35.541.5 cm); tail: 2.94.5 in (7.211.5 cm). Weight: 3248 oz (9071,361 g).
Eastern Montana and southwestern North Dakota south to extreme southeastern Arizona, New Mexico, and northwestern Texas.
Lewis and Clark encountered their first prairie dog "town" near present-day Fort Randall Dam. A live prairie dog was among the specimens sent to President Jefferson from Fort Mandan in 1805.
"Discovered a Village of Small animals that burrow in the grown (those animals are Called by the french Petite Chien) Killed one and Caught one a live by poreing a great quantity of Water in his hole we attempted to dig to the beds of one of those animals, after digging 6 feet [1.8 meters], found by running a pole down that we were not half way to his Lodge... The Village of those animals Covd. about 4 acres [1.6 hectares] of Ground on a gradual decent of a hill and Contains great numbers of holes on the top of which those little animals Set erect, make a Whistleing noise and whin allarmed Step into their hole. we pord into one of those holes 5 barrels of Water without filling it. Those Animals are about the Size of a Small Squ[ir]rel... except the ears which is Shorter, his tail like a ground squirel which they shake & whistle when allarmd. the toe nails long, they have fine fur."