This report is about three species that inhabit the Wyoming plains. One of these species is the black tailed prairie dog which inhabits nearly all of the U.S. and was at one time considered to be endangered. The second is the black footed ferret which was thought to be extinct until a small colony of these little predators was discovered on a ranch near Meeteetse Wyoming. The third and final animal mentioned in this report is the Wyoming toad. These toads are becoming increasingly scarce in the wild.
Cynomys ludovicianus or the black tailed prairie dog is actually a ground squirrel and not at all a dog. Black tailed prairie dogs can get up to 388mm long and weigh in around 1-2 kg.
These prairie dogs primarily reside on short grass prairies. They usually avoid areas of heavy brush and tall grass possibly because visibility is considerably reduced. (The Mammals of Texas) These prairie dogs live in burrows which may reach lengths of up to 100 ft and depths of 15ft and may consist of a latrine, nursery, nesting chamber, and listening post. (San Francisco Zoo) Prairie dog colonies are made up of a few or many “wards” which are spread out from one another. Each ward is composed of several small families which are called “coteries”. These coteries are harems of two to eight females that are defended by a single dominant male. (The Mammals of Texas) One prairie dog town, observed at the turn of the century, is said to have extended in a strip approximately 160 km wide and 400 km long on the high plains of Texas. This “city” had an estimated population of 400 million prairie dogs. (The mammals of Texas)
Prairie dogs have a sophisticated communicatio...
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...Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. All rights reserved.
5. Grenier, M. 2004. Finding Ferrets. Wyoming Wildlife, 68(1): 24-29; ISSN: 0043-9819. Database: WILDLIFE REVIEW ABSTRACTS http://biblionline.nisc.com/scripts/login.dll?07112005011755_2
6. Mustela nigripes. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Mustela_nigripes.html Database: WILDLIFE REVIEW ABSTRACTS
7. Spencer, B. May/June 1999. The Wyoming Toad SSP. Endangered Species Bulletin. Vol. XXIV NO.3
8. Spencer, B. (7/1/98) Wyoming Toad 98 Fact Sheet. 2000 American Zoo and Aquarium Association
9. Wyoming Toad. 1998. Team 19689- World Endangered Species. /19689/data/amphibians/ Wyoming toad frame.html http://library.thinkqest.org/19689/data/amphibians/wyoming_toad.html
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