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Prairie Dogs at the site of the Sand Creek Massacre

NPS.ORG From the Archives – The black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), a member of the Sciuridae or squirrel family, is important to native shortgrass prairie ecosystems and occurs in Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS). The black-tailed prairie dog is the most abundantly and widely distributed prairie dog species. Prairie dogs increase habitat diversity and contribute to grassland ecosystem processes by clipping vegetation and creating open habitats preferred by grassland birds and are proposed as a keystone species in North American grasslands. Numerous species prey on prairie dogs and use their burrows for shelter including badgers, coyotes, hawks, golden eagles, snakes, burrowing owls, and bobcats.  [full article]

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