All About Prairie Dogs

We have three little Prairie Dogs living at the farm! Charles, Caroline, and Sarah Beth are about 6 months old and full of energy and personality. The black-tailed prairie dog is found across the Great Plains of the United States from Canada to Mexico. This is a threatened species in the wild, so we take great care in raising our own “town” at Ballyhoo.

Meet the Town!

Charles

Breed: Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
Birthday: March 1, 2021

Charles is our dominant male of our Prairie Dog Town. He is full of personality and has no fear of trying new things! 

Charles is the largest and usually first up in the mornings. He is climbing the fence, throwing up his little hands, and barking most of the morning until he gets some attention. He is always busy digging, climbing, or chewing and is the easiest to spot with his very outgoing personality.

Charles will be front and center in the prairie dog habitat when you visit! 

Sarah Beth

Breed: Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
Birthday: March 1, 2021

Sarah Beth is our smallest prairie dog and subordinate female in our town of three. 

Sarah Beth is usually busy tiding up the habitat cleaning burrow entrances and picking up stray leaves, treats, and branches we add for enrichment. Sarah Beth is slightly darker with more of an orange tone and smaller than our other female, Caroline. 

Sarah Beth is usually busying around the burrow when you visit the farm, but will be happy to come up and socialize for her favorite snacks, carrots! 

Caroline

Breed: Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
Birthday: March 1, 2021

Caroline is our dominate female of the town and does not mind throwing her weight around.

Carline is the lightest in color of the prairie dogs and is definitely not a morning dog. She is usually in the burrow until at least noon, and will not come out until she is good and ready. We cannot really tell if she is shy or just stubborn, so this girl is perfectly fine waiting and stealing snacks from her friends instead of coming out for food. 

Depending on the time of day, Sarah Beth will be sleeping or sunbathing on her house when you visit.

Diet

We feed our prairie dogs a mixture of pellets, vegetables, and hay. Hay and grasses make up 80% of their diet. Pellets and vegetables are much smaller portion of their diet due to the high carbohydrate levels which cause weightgain.

Enrichment

Prairie Dogs are very smart and need constant stimulation. Their pen is currently constructed out of concrete blocks and filled with dirt so they can dig burrow as they would in the wild. We also like to add branches, leaves, and other natural items for them to chew for stimulation and to wear down their teeth since they are alway growing.

Veterinary Care

Most issues with Prairie Dogs in captivity are related to their weight and teeth. It is important to make sure they get a balanced diet and plenty to chew on to keep them happy and healthy. Prairie Dogs are prone to disease and can get sick from humans, so we have to be very diligent to cleanliness and handling these little guys.

Threats in the Wild

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs populations are facing two main threats: sylvatic plague and habitat loss from fragmentation. Sylvatic plague is an introduced disease that can cause the near complete loss of a town in a matter of weeks. Habitat loss and fragmentation has led to colonies being less connected and recovery from the plague difficult.