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Prairie Dog Towns

Prairie dogs are burrowing, colonial mammals that stand about 12 inches tall and weighing 1 to 3 pounds.

Vibrant prairie dog colonies support a diverse array of wildlife including North America’s most endangered mammal: the black-footed ferret. Watch prairie dogs give their characteristic warning and territorial calls, and look out for visitors to the town, like coyotes, badgers and burrowing owls.

You’ll enjoy the daytime activity of the owls, which bob their heads in excitement and wonder and hunt in their family groups. In spring, bird watchers are treated to the sight of juveniles, typically 3-7 chicks, hanging out at burrow entrances. Listen closely – the chicks make a hissing sound that mimics a rattlesnake. 

Where can I find prairie dog towns?

There are several prairie dog towns in the Sun Prairie unit that are ideal for public viewing and are marked on our visitor map. You can also virtually explore the Reserve's prairie dog towns in this interactive map created by the Landmark adventure science program. Landmark volunteers monitor our restoration efforts by mapping the towns each year to measure expansion. Learn more about our prairie dog restoration work

Ecosystem Essential: The Prairie Dog Town