Texas Nature Trackers: Texas Black-tailed Prairie Dog Watch
Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are an icon of the grasslands. These animals were once common in mixed- and short-grass prairies throughout the western midwest, including Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming, as well as Canada and Mexico. Historically, millions of acres of Texas grassland were covered by black-tailed prairie dog towns. Prairie dog towns in Texas now occupy less than 1% of their historic range.
Prairie dogs are an important part of the grassland ecosystem. Their digging aerates and promotes soil formation, they clip back brush maintaining the short-grass prairie and they are a keystone species providing food and shelter for as many as 170 different animals. A keystone species is a species that other species depend upon for survival.
Now, through participation in the Texas Black-tailed Prairie Dog Watch, you can help widen our understanding of black-tailed prairie dogs and what is contributing to their decline. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) needs your help to monitor prairie dog towns in your area by observing and collecting data. The data that is collected will help TPWD biologists to monitor population trends and develop more effective conservation and management methods. For more detailed information and directions see: