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A Non-Lethal Management Guide for Gunnison’s Prairie Dogs

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Gunnison’s prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni)—a native to the Four Corners region—is a keystone species whose burrowing and feeding habits keep prairie grasses healthy and help rainwater infiltrate deeply into the soil. Prairie dog burrows provide shelter for other species like burrowing owls, small mammals, snakes, lizards, and invertebrates. Prairie dogs are an important food source for many animals including hawks and the endangered black-footed ferret. Despite all their benefits, their burrowing and foraging can be, or perceived to be, incompatible with certain human land uses.

This handbook is a summary of humane, non-lethal methods for removing prairie dogs and preventing future colonization by using barriers. The methods described in this handbook have been developed by professionals with extensive knowledge of prairie dog natural history and hands-on experience helping landowners to create spaces free of prairie dogs. Methods are substantiated, but not scientifically proven, by the experiences of those interviewed. This handbook is an effort to provide a compilation of the best information currently available.

 

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RDT Field Notes Spreadsheet

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This project made possible by a grant from Arizona Game and Fish Department Heritage Fund and the City of Flagstaff.

Prairie Dog Life

Click on the burrow images to find out more.

Nursing Chamber

A mother keeps her young pups safe while the other Prairie Dogs investigate the snake.

Entering the Burrow

A prairie dog hears an emergency cry of "snake" and goes to investigate.

Listening chamber

A prairie dog sits listening just beneath the surface of the ground.

The Rattlesnake

The rattlesnake found a prairie dog burrow to sleep in but has been discovered by the prairie dogs.

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