Grasslands National Park and the Black-tailed Prairie Dog

The Black-tailed Prairie Dog only in Saskatchewan!

The Black-tailed Prairie Dog . . . you are probably saying to yourself “who cares . . . it’s just another rodent”!  These little guys are no ordinary rodent, they are amazing creatures with an amazing story to tell. Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan is the only place in Canada where you can now find these little guys and that is only after they were reintroduced into their natural habitat.  

Prairie dogs are considered a “keystone” species because their colonies create islands of habitats that benefit approximately 150 other species.  For example, the endangered burrowing owls use abandoned Prairie dog burrows for a nest as well as the black-footed ferret (which was also reintroduced to the Grasslands National Park).  The Black-tailed Prairie Dogs are very social creatures, they live in groupings usually consisting of an adult male, one or two adult females and their offspring.  Their burrows are much like colonies living together in groupings which are part of larger towns.  They communicate with each other making high-pitched sounds and give off warning signals of potential dangers with sounds that are similar to barking.

If you ever have an opportunity to watch Black-tailed Prairie Dogs in their natural habitat you would be amazed at how social, fun and entertaining they are.  When I photographed these little guys in Grasslands National Park, I could have watched them for hours.  From bounding around to barking sounds and warnings to each other they are so much fun to watch.  Grasslands has a viewing area where you can watch the Black-tailed Prairie Dog in action without disturbing them in their natural habitat. There is a viewer available to be able to magnify your view and watch the activity in the colonies.  We were able to find two separate colonies in the park but I am sure there are others in the area as the colonies seem to be expanding.