White-tailed prairie dog

White-tailed prairie dog
White-tailed prairie dog
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Cynomys
Species: C. leucurus
Binomial name
Cynomys leucurus
(Merriam, 1890)

The white-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys leucurus) is found in western Wyoming and western Colorado with small areas in eastern Utah and southern Montana. The largest populations are in Wyoming where they are known colloquially as "chiselers".[2] This prairie dog species lives between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, generally a higher elevation than other prairie dog species. Its predators include black-footed ferrets, badgers, and golden eagles.



The white-tailed prairie dog is tan-brown in color, with large eyes and a dark patch on their cheeks above and below each eye[3].

Conservation status

White-tailed prairie dogs are only in around 8% of their original territory. This has been caused by oil drilling, and habitat loss mainly. It is also threatened by shooting, and a disease called Sylvatic Plague that affects all prairie dogs. This animal lives in small communities that are vulnerable to being wiped out by all of these issues. This species appears in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, with a status of least concern, last assessed in 1996.[1] Petitions have been made to protect the white-tailed prairie dog, but they have been denied by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service due to insufficient scientific data describing current population trends.[4] This denial is being reconsidered, because former deputy assistant secretary Julie MacDonald has been found to have improperly influenced the scientific basis of the denial. Groups such as the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance are working to get this animal on the list.[5]


  1. ^ a b Linzey, A. V. & NatureServe (Hammerson, G.) (2008). Cynomys leucurus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 6 January 2009.
  2. ^ Blevins, Winfred (2001). Dictionary of the American West. Sasquatch Books. p. 82. ISBN 1570613044. 
  3. ^ http://www.r6.fws.gov/species/mammals/wtprairiedog/ US Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. ^ http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/pressrel/04-78.htm US Fish and Wildlife Service White-tailed Prairie Dog Press Release
  5. ^ Lewis, Paul (2007-07-20). "Agency to review species decisions". Washington Post. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003799211_endangered21.html. 

External links