Occurring in the southwestern part of the state, the Utah prairie-dog, is one of three prairie-dog species found in Utah . The species is not found anywhere else in the world, making it the only non-fish vertebrate endemic to Utah.
Similar to other prairie-dogs, Utah prairie-dogs form colonies and spend much of their time in underground burrows, often hibernating during the winter.
From 1925-1975, poisoning, land conversion and plague reduced Utah prairie dog populations by an estimated 87%. By the 1970’s, the Utah prairie dog population plummeted to 3,300 individuals.
Utah prairie dogs were listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act in 1973 and later reclassified as a threatened species in 1984. Since being listed, Utah prairie dog populations have rebounded and now there are over 40,000 living on mostly private lands. Recently there has been much conflict with land owners who try to develop their lands, but are unable to do so because of colonies of Utah prairie dogs that live on their lands. For more information on Utah prairie dogs, check out our Utah Field Guide on our Outdoors page at KSLTV.com