They are everywhere! At least in the Grasslands National Park West Block that is. These "barking squirrels" as they are sometimes referred to are actually black-tailed prairie dogs, part of the squirrel family and there are numerous colonies throughout the park. They are very social animals and live in groupings of a male, three to four females and their young that are under about a year old. They live in burrows and feed on roots and other vegetation, but occasionally eat insects as well. They are able to distinguish between those in their own group by "nuzzling" or what we might think looks like "kissing." They are definitely fun to watch and the Grasslands Park has over 25 colonies that may number up to 23,000 animals in total!! The area in and around the Grasslands Park are the only place they are seen in the wild in Canada. The Parks Canada web site has a lot of great information on the black-tailed prairie dog, and the vital role it plays in the prairie ecosystem. A good read on an interesting prairie inhabitant and if your really lucky you may find a toy prairie dog at a local shop to take home too!
Highway #4 and #18