When I came to Kansas, I have to admit that one of the things I was most fascinated with were prairie dogs. And of course here in Oakley, we used to have, you know, the prairie dog town with the world’s biggest prairie dog. That’s no longer open. But I want you to know, I visited that long before I moved to Oakley. And of course, if you’re a farmer or rancher, you’re cursing those little beasts. Don’t tell anybody, but I still think that they’re fascinating. Let’s take a look. Black tailed prairie dogs named for their black tip tails and dog like bark once lived throughout the Great Plains and towns that extended for miles and contained hundreds of 1000s of individuals. The rodents excavate a complex underground system of tunnels and rooms that may be as deep as 15 feet. With horizontal tunnels reaching 10 to 15 feet long, the soil is pushed to the surface to create numerous mounds. They forage throughout the day with sentinels sitting upright standing guard as the others feed. When a predator is cited the Sentinel barks and the entire colony scampers to their protective burrows. Abandoned burrows provide homes for spiders, salamanders, toads, or night box turtles, snakes and burrowing owls. blacktail prairie dogs live on the High Plains from northern Mexico to southern Canada. They are found in short grass prairies and ranch lands of the western half of Kansas. In the spring, females produce a single litter of two to 10 pups. They may live up to eight years, prairie dogs spayed primarily on green vegetation, including grasses, seed stems and the occasional insect. According the Parks and Wildlife office in Pratt, there is no closed hunting season on prairie dogs and no license required for Kansas residents. There’s also no bag limit, a license is required for non residents. Andy chap a wildlife biologist at the Cimarron national grasslands, said that plague sweeps through the prairie dog population periodically. The last one occurred a couple of years ago said Andy and spread like wildfire, leaving less than 2000 acres of prairie dog towns throughout the more than 100,000 acre park. Other animals like coyotes who feed on the animals seem unaffected by the disease. The Cimarron national grasslands boasts not only prairie dogs, but some stunning Western views. truly one of our state’s treasures. their offices are in Elkhart in southwestern Kansas, so give them a call and plan a visit.