Prairie dogs, also known as prairie dog towns or cemeteries of the West are a type of burrowing rodents indigenous to North America. They dig into the ground in search for food and cover from predators. Some people have taken it upon themselves to remove these pests from their property because they can cause significant damage if left unchecked.
“will bubble gum kill prairie dogs” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to the question is no, but it will make them move away quickly.
Most people think they’re attractive, particularly when they stand up on their hind legs and bark, which is how they got their name. However, if you reside west of the Mississippi River in cow country, your main concern is usually how to get rid of prairie dogs in your yard.
Prairie Dog Characteristics
The term prairie dog is a misnomer. It is a burrowing rodent, similar to the common ground squirrel. Its genus has five species. They are as follows:
- Prairie dog with a white tail
- Prairie dog with a black tail
- Prairie dog in Utah
- Prairie dog from Gunnison
- Prairie dog from Mexico
All five have comparable behavior and natural histories, with regional variances in range and feeding. They are mostly herbivores that graze on grasses and forbs within their range. A prairie dog may consume up to 2 pounds of food every week.
Prairie dogs are highly gregarious creatures that live in colonies known as coteries or clans, depending on the species. Each village has an average of 12 animals per household, with some having as many as 20 or more. The burrowing method of these rodents is really fascinating.
At varied depths between 3 and 6 feet below, the burrows are intricate, with numerous rooms and several exits. Each family’s plot extends roughly 15 feet into the surrounding landscape, with noticeable mounds of bare ground indicating their position.
Prairie dogs use a complex vocalization system of chirps and barks to communicate with one another and to warn other colony members of danger, such as people and other predators like hawks, owls, and foxes.
To know Prairie Dogs in Your Backyard: How to Get Rid of Them, you must first understand their habits.
Conflicts between humans and prairie dogs
The biggest stumbling block is cattle ranchers, who claim that prairie dogs compete with their herds for the same food sources. The problem is made much more complex by habitat destruction. More animals are branching out into agricultural fields as more humans migrate into prairie dog habitat.
Crops are jeopardized as a result, particularly in places with hundreds of burrows—and thousands of animals.
Some farmers also allege that the many holes dug by prairie dogs endangers their livestock and horses. The harm is obvious in any event, and the emotions are understandable.
The other side of the coin is the environment. Prairie dogs consume a lot of plant matter. When they clean an area, exotic plants and grasses might take their place, reducing the nutritional content of the food supply for animals and livestock.
Before you get rid of prairie dogs, there are a few things you should know.
The problem with prairie dogs isn’t as straightforward as it is with other pests. Launching an eradication effort faces a number of serious challenges. For starters, the federal government has the last word on whether or not you can do anything at all.
Both the Mexican and Prairie dog in Utahs have listed animals under the Endangered Species Act. That means taking either one is illegal. But, there are still issues even with the other more abundant species.
The Ecosystem’s Underpinnings
The prairie dog and its way of life are the archetypal example of a functioning food web, with this rodent serving as the main attraction or keystone species. Their communal towns and burrows perform a supportive function.
Prairie dogs do not live in a vacuum. Rabbits, ground birds, and rodents all use abandoned burrows as a source of food. Then there’s the matter of the animals themselves.
Other creatures, such as the endangered black-footed ferret and the protected golden eagle, rely on prairie dogs for sustenance. The latter is an incredible comeback story for a species that was previously assumed to be extinct.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service stepped in to preserve the weasel in 1991, launching a reintroduction campaign. South Dakota and Wyoming, for example, have over 1,400 creatures.
Interestingly, the federal government also considered listing the Prairie dog with a black tail when its numbers starting decreasing. Today, you can legally hunt prairie dogs in 11 states.
Prairie Dogs in Your Backyard: How to Get Rid of Them
Controlling a pest infestation is a multi-step process that might take years to complete. The bad news is this. Prairie dogs are prolific breeders, with litters including up to four pups. To make a dent in the population, hunters would have to take over 75% of the population.
That implies you’ll be fighting for the rest of your life. However, we have a strategy in place for that as well.
Trapping and hunting are both popular pastimes.
Both of these strategies are beneficial in different ways. The prairie dog’s communication system and burrows are the issues you’re dealing with. Their tunnels have several openings, as we indicated previously. This makes it far more difficult to predict where you’ll see them at any given moment.
If there aren’t many animals, you may be able to get away with traps. However, there are a few sites you’ll need to see. Keep in mind that you’re up against a clever adversary, as indicated by their many vocalizations.
We recommend roughening up the live trap so the metal isn’t as gleaming. Set it up for a few days with the door open to create the idea that it’s secure. You may use the grasses and forbs that the prairie dog is stealing from your yard as bait since you know how much it enjoys them.
You’ll almost certainly require a permission from your state’s DNR or conservation agency. There are additional rules concerning where the trapped animals may be released. If you reside near black-footed ferret territory, you have a good chance of finding a suitable release location.
If you reside in a state where prairie dogs may be shot, you will be subject to a slew of restrictions and regulations. On the plus side, these communities often see these rodents as pests, resulting in greater bag restrictions.
If you don’t want to do it yourself, you may be able to lease your property to a hunter who would take care of your pest issue and even pay you for it.
Prairie Dog Control Using Chemicals
When you start talking about poisons and rodenticides, a lot of red lights go up. And it’s not without cause. There is a chance that non-targeted animals and pets may be harmed.
Predator species such as hawks and owls must also be considered. If the components in these poisonous pesticides pile up to a deadly level in their systems, they may die.
All of this is to say that they are successful.
When Using Poisons, Take Care
It’s critical to utilize products that are particularly labeled for prairie dogs. It is illegal to do otherwise under federal law. It’s also the right thing to do from a practical and humanitarian standpoint. Underdosing them won’t solve the issue, and sickening them is just plain cruel.
To avoid going afoul with the government, we highly advise you to check on the status of black-footed ferrets in your region.
There are also the common-sense measures of keeping insecticides away from young children and pets. You must also use them exactly as directed in the instructions. Before using them, we recommend reading all of the safety precautions in case of an accident.
Landowners in certain locations are allowed to use rodenticides to manage nuisance animals. However, you’ll very certainly discover that there are several limitations on what you may use, when you can use it, and if your property borders private or public territory.
Rodenticides Come in a Variety of Forms
Anticoagulants are the first-generation poisons. In essence, the animal bleeds to death on the inside. They work, but not immediately. Second-generation medications, such as bromethalin, are more effective at quickly resolving the condition.
A family of rodenticides containing zinc phosphide is another alternative. When the animal consumes it, the components react with the acid in their stomach and the fluids in their body to produce a lethal phosphine gas.
You could discover that the only poisons you’re allowed to employ are those with a federally limited usage. That implies you’d need a pest control applicator license appropriate to what you’re doing. It’s not something you purchase; rather, it’s something you get by passing a test.
The benefit of this strategy is that it allows you to strike all of the prairie dog burrow openings while avoiding direct contact with the animals. However, you must still collect the corpses and kill the dying animals as part of the necessary follow-up.
Cartridges for Gas
Some landowners resort to tossing USDA Cartridges for Gas down the entrances of the burrow to fumigate the tunnels and get rid of the pests. It’s best to start at the hole where you’ve seen an animal enter and plug up any of the adjacent ones before you begin.
Carbon monoxide fills the burrow when the cartridge is ignited. When using these, keep in mind that it’s an open flame that may burn any dry items around. It’s important to keep in mind that it will burn soon. Before igniting the fuse, make sure all other exits are closed.
Aluminum phosphide cartridges are very poisonous, yet they work well. However, since it is so deadly, many localities prohibit its usage. If you’re near another private property or a public area, you’ll probably discover there are a lot of limits on where you may use it.
While it is another hands-off option, gassing is costly, particularly because you will almost certainly have to do it more than once. Then there’s the misery of the aftermath. Overall, it’s a lot of labor that’s best done in conjunction with other types of control.
Prairie Dogs in Your Backyard: How to Get Rid of Them with Deterrents
This option is available in a variety of formats. When compared to pesticides, the overarching benefit that many products provide is that the danger to you is negligible. The goal is to make your yard as uncomfortable as possible in order to entice the colony to relocate.
We’ll start by saying that gimmicks like ultrasonic gadgets and predator urine products aren’t going to help. Unless you’re the one selling them, they’re ineffective.
Coyote decoys could work for a limited period of time. Until the prairie dogs realize that they aren’t a danger, motion-sensing warnings may be useful.
Future Problems Avoidance
Whatever else you do to manage prairie dog management, you must follow up with additional more compelling techniques. The greatest part is that they are completely risk-free for you and your family.
To keep track on predators and other hazards, prairie dogs need wide space surrounding their burrows. Make it tough for them to see around your yard to make it less appealing to them.
Tall grasses, such as great bluestem, Indian grass, and other natural plants, can block their view and make your land seem less desirable. Keep in mind that they take a few years to establish themselves, so this is a long-term project.
The entry mounds should be leveled first. To prevent floods, the prairie dogs build raised patches around the holes. The bare area of land will give a perfect starting point for native grasses, whose roots will reach as far as, if not beyond, than the tunnels below.
Visual obstacles, such as a planted row of arborvitae or other trees and shrubs that will also give some welcome seclusion in your landscaping design, may take interfering with their vision to the next level.
The Last Word
If you’re suffering with these burrowing critters, we feel for you. Their intricate tunnels provide a challenge, making it more difficult to manage them. You’ll be ahead of the game if you think like a prairie dog.
Trapping and shooting might provide temporary respite. Because of the hazards to humans, pets, and other species, we believe poisons should only be used as a last option. All of these approaches are also subject to legal problems, which make them inappropriate in particular situations.
When considering Prairie Dogs in Your Backyard: How to Get Rid of Them, make it tough for them to make a living. They’ll move on to higher ground and room with a view.
Rozol is a product that can be used to get rid of prairie dogs. It’s easy to use and kills the target quickly. Reference: rozol prairie dog bait.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get rid of prairie dogs in your yard?
A: There are many ways to get rid of prairie dogs. One way is to either trap them or have a professional do the job for you.
What can I use to kill prairie dogs?
A: Well, you can use a shotgun or rifle with buckshot. If the prairie dogs are too far away for this to be viable, then I would suggest you find another way of getting rid of them.
How do I get rid of prairie dogs without poison?
A: Shooting them with a pellet gun from the top of a hill is pretty effective.
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