Unless you live in a prairie dog-infested area, prairie dogs are not a major issue for most people. As a result, there aren’t many repellents for prairie dogs that have been proven to work. Prairie dogs are not members of the canine family; rather, they are rodents.
They got their name from the sound they produce, which is a bark. The prairie dog and the squirrel are closely related.
If you wonder where does prairie dog live the most? Prairie dogs love open areas with little vegetation. They prefer meadows with little water to tall grass and woodlands.
They will also eat seeds, many types of grass, flowers, and roots, and most consume their body weight in grass in a single day.(Read Is Scotts Turf Builder Safe for Pets)
How Do You Control Prairie Dogs?
When asking where prairie dogs live, you need to ensure they don’t venture onto your property. You can use repellents around the border of your property. To fend them off, you need to know what is effective. In general, these dogs search for new places to live and ignore dangerous areas or where they think it isn’t safe.
Here are some ways you can control prairie dogs; prairie dogs can be a challenge, and these may not work 100%.
The first humane step is to use a large predator scent, such as Coyote Urine. The black-tailed prairie dog is well aware of this and will avoid areas where coyotes mark their territory. Spread this around your yard perimeter before they arrive and make a home on your property.
It takes re-application, and you need 2 oz for every 10 feet once per month. A half-gallon will cover 320 feet, and once gallon covering 640 feet.
The advantage here is you can hit all the prairie dog burrow entrances and keep away from the animals.
To fumigate the tunnels and burrows as the best way of getting rid of these pests, some landowners resort to using USDA gas cartridges and toss these into the burrow entrances. If you decide to use this method of wildlife removal, start at the hole or burrow you saw an animal enter and fill the remaining holes trapping them inside.
The carbon monoxide fills the burrow as you light the cartridge. You do have a few things to think about when using these. They are a naked flame and can set fire to dry grass. Worse than this, Aluminum phosphide cartridges are extremely toxic but effective. (Read Getting Rid Of Chipmunks Mothballs)
Since they are deadly, you’ll find many localities prohibit them. Besides this, you’ll still have to deal with carcasses and kill dying animals if they get from their burrows.
Will Rat Poison Kill Prairie Dogs?
If you search for rat poisons to deal with your black-tailed prairie dog problem, you’ll come across Rozol, a poison that is now licensed for killing wild prairie dogs.
Rozol, on the other hand, threatens a threat to numerous wildlife species that rely on prairie dogs, such as black-footed ferrets, swift foxes, owls, eagles, and other raptors, which are already endangered.(Find the Best Pet Friendly Weed and Feed for Lawns)
They have attempted to persuade the Environmental Protection Agency to prohibit the use of Rozol on prairie dogs in court.
How Deep Do Prairie Dog Holes Go?
You can see why you need pest control for these animals. Prairie dogs cover two million acres in North America. The prairie dogs live in towns, which are vast colonies where multiple families share the burrow system.
You can find prairie dog tunnels constructed by a single-family cover an acre, whereas a community can cover over 1,000 acres.
Yard Damage can get tough as the animals can dig up to 50 burrow entrances per acre. Prairie dog holes ruin your lawn and can cause your garden structure to collapse.
Prairie Dog Tunnels and prairie dog holes can be spotted as they differ from any other tunneling pests. The animals will dig tunnels from three to six feet deep and four to eight inches in diameter. Mole burrows tend to be far smaller at two inches in diameter.
A crater or dome-shaped mound commonly marks the entrance to a prairie dog burrow. These reach up to two feet and ten feet wide.
You can see prairie dogs sitting on their mounds during the day, when active. Many other burrowing pests won’t spend much time above ground.
Prairie dogs bring an added danger with rattlesnakes or black widow spiders, both common visitors to prairie dog towns. (Learn How to Get Rid of Ground Moles)
How do you get rid of black-tailed prairie dogs?
As with all critters, the more you know, the easier it is to deal with them. Prairie dogs are hugely aware of their surroundings, so putting traps out won’t be enough. You need to know the critter’s weaknesses, so they leave your property.
What do Prairie Dogs eat, and what does a prairie dog look like? Prairie dogs live on grass and roots but eat fruit, seeds, grains, and insects. This makes them an enormous threat to your garden and lawn.
The mating season is March, and they give birth to around eight pups in April or May. The population can easily grow, so you need to get rid of them before the spring.
There are five species of prairie dog, which can greatly affect methods for getting rid of them.
- Black-Tailed Prairie Dog: The critters are identified by the black tip on their tail.
- Gunnison’s Prairie Dog: This species has a white-tipped tail and yellowish buff fur mixed with black. While the species was denied endangered status, it is a key species in its native habitat of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, in the four-corners region.
- Mexican Prairie Dog: Mexican prairie dogs can be easier to identify than others with reddish-brown fur and a lighter underbelly species. They have a black tail tip and are currently on the endangered list.
- Utah Prairie Dog: The cinnamon to clay-colored critters have dark eyebrows. They have white tail tips and are on the endangered species list.
- White-Tailed Prairie Dog: These tan-brown critters have darker streaks above the eyes down the cheeks. They come with a short, white-tipped tail and are non-endangered.
Here are a few tips on how to get rid of prairie dogs.
Because prairie dogs are highly social creatures, spotting one usually indicates you’re dealing with an entire colony.
They’re difficult to get rid of since they reproduce swiftly and elder prairie dogs actively escape traps. Fortunately, there are methods for reducing the population and eventually getting them to leave your land.
From the shed can be one place you can use traps as pest control. Once you understand how to trap the prairie dog in enclosed spaces, they may become desperate to enter baited traps when it is their only food source.
We suggest a good no-kill trap, such as the Havahart 1089, because you’ll be working with a small population. Set your traps and with no easy escape routes from the shed. Keep the shed closed so the critters can’t get out. Make sure the prairie dogs are moved following capture.
To deal with the pests, you will most likely need to remove them from the yard. Flooding the den is a simple solution. The majority of prairie dogs will flee, but you may be able to kill a few if all of the burrows are blocked before flooding.
Prairie dogs will eat the roots as well as many of your fruits and veggies, making this a worst-case scenario.
The best option is to build a fence, although this will need some digging. Your fence should reach a few feet below ground as well as a few feet above ground to prevent prairie dogs from burrowing down.
If you already have prairie dogs in your garden, you may need to leave a small temporary entrance and flood the burrow to eject any who have become stuck. Before you try any of these trapping techniques, make sure you’re not dealing with an endangered species.
Kill traps come in all shapes and sizes. Not only will it take the same amount of effort to set up as a no-kill trap, but you also risk harming other critters. Worse yet, you’re only likely to kill a few puppies, who will be rapidly replenished. As a result, this is an alternative that should be avoided. (Read Are Peace Lilies Poisonous to Cats)
Poisons for prairie dog control should only be used if there is no other alternative, as poisoned bait can attract other predators.
This is especially true with rodent prairie dogs, as baiting might take days before the poison can be laid out.
Other natural predators may take the bait during this period. A common poison strategy for dealing with these rodents.