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Photo by Ron Stewart
Photo Copyright Ron Stewart

The white-tailed prairie dog, Cynomys leucurus, is one of three prairie dog species found in Utah, occurring in the northeastern part of the state. The species is also found in parts of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.

Similar to other prairie dogs, white-tailed prairie dogs form colonies and spend much of their time in underground burrows, often hibernating during the winter. The species breeds in the spring, and young can be seen above ground in early June. The white-tailed prairie dog's diet is composed of grasses and bulbs. In turn, the white-tailed prairie dog is the main food source of the Utah population of the endangered black-footed ferret.

Major threats to the white-tailed prairie dog include habitat loss, poisoning, and the plague.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.