Cynomys ludovicianus / Mustela nigripes
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog / Black-Footed Ferret
The black-tailed prairie dog is a keystone species in mixed-grass prairie ecosystems. Their burrowing actions aerate the soil and provide refuge for many species including burrowing owls and rattlesnakes. These ecosystem engineers are also an important food source for many grassland predators including black-footed ferrets.
Did you know?
Black-tailed prairie dogs in Grasslands National Park have been seen carrying clumps of bison fur to their burrows, perhaps to use it as insulation in their overwintering chambers!