A Rodent Misunderstood

Make no mistake; the small rodents just down the path from the grizzly bears aren’t gophers, they’re black-tailed prairie dogs. Watch members of the Calgary Zoo’s colony darting in and out of their burrows as they take turns watching for danger. If they spot something, you won’t want to miss it. They stand up on their back legs, lift their heads and squeak out a call that sounds like a dog’s bark. 

Conservation Status

Source: SARA

Canadian Wilds Mini Map

You can find this animal in
Canadian Wilds

Exhibit Details

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Zoo Researchers Get Endangered Species to "Say Cheese"

Remote camera traps are a bit like Candid Camera for endangered species, offering researchers a peek into the secret lives of animals facing environmental challenges.

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Learning Centre

Prairie dogs are highly social and live in family groups called coteries. They have a complex language system, and it is believed they even have different calls to identify each type of predator. The offspring learn this at a very young age.

At a Glance

Scientific Name

Cynomys ludovicianus


500 - 1,500 g (1.1 - 3.3 lb.)


Length of 35 - 40 cm (14 - 16 in.)

Conservation Status

Special Concern


Arid, short-grass plains near river flats and coulees


Grass, roots and forbs

Are you ready to make some new animal friends?

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