Common name: Mexican prairie dog

Scientific name: Cynomys mexicanus

Other names: None

Identification: Mexican prairie dogs are similar in color to black-tailed prairie dogs, with reddish-brown fur throughout the body with lighter color on the underside. Slightly smaller than the black-tailed prairie dog they are distinguished by the black-tip tail covers half of tail whereas the black tail tip covers only the last 1/3 of a black-tailed prairie dog tail.

Habitat: Found only in the Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi. Occupies outcrops that are mainly gypsum soils.

Food: Grasses (primarily in spring and autumn), forbs, cacti, yucca.

Reproduction: Mexican prairie dogs breed once per year in mid-January to early April. Gestation is estimated at 30 days and average litter size is 4 pups. Females lactate for 41-50 days. Juveniles emerge aboveground in April.

Behavior: Least understood and studied of the 5 prairie dog species, most closely related to the black-tailed prairie dog. Colonial and social and are active throughout the year. Diurnal (active during the day) and spend most of their time foraging and watching for coyotes and birds of prey.

Conservation status: Probably the rarest prairie dog they have been reduced more than 62% in recent years by poisoning and plowing. Listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act in 1970. Plague has not been detected in Mexican prairie dogs but could be a threat.


Recommended resources:

Distribution and Conservation Status of Prairie Dogs Cynomys mexicanus and Cynomys ludovicianus in Mexico by Gerardo Ceballos et al. 1993.