White-tailed Prairie Dog in golden evening light

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White-tailed Prairie Dog eatingWhite-tailed Prairie Dog eating – Nikon D810, f9, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The White-tailed Prairie Dogs I saw and photographed last week in Wayne County, Utah seemed more active in the evening than mornings. It may have been that evenings were warmer but I definitely enjoyed photographing them in the golden evening light up high in the sagebrush steppe.

White-tailed Prairie Dog in evening lightWhite-tailed Prairie Dog in evening light – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

While the prairie dogs seemed curious about the vehicle parked nearby they mostly seemed to ignore us and went about their business which seemed to consist of eating and basking in the warmth of the slowly setting sun.

White-tailed Prairie Dog on alertWhite-tailed Prairie Dog on alert – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

They did pay attention to the sky though and could possibly see Golden Eagles far off in the distance. Prairie dogs are prey for the eagles so keeping an eye on the sky may save their lives.

White-tailed Prairie Dogs are found in only 8% of their historical territory which includes western Wyoming and Colorado and small areas of eastern Utah and southern Montana.

Some people shoot them for fun and I simply don’t understand killing for fun.

White-tailed Prairie Dog nibbling on foodWhite-tailed Prairie Dog nibbling on food – Nikon D810, f9, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I had a marvelous time photographing this White-tailed Prairie Dog with the warm sun on my face and a soft breeze blowing over the gentle hills. They are about the size of a cottontail rabbit and I think they are cute. They don’t live in “towns” like other prairie dogs do but instead live in smaller communities spread further apart.

Life is good and sometimes it is golden.



  1. Lois Bryan April 1, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    They are absolutely darling. I don’t understanding killing for sport either. I wish I could jam a camera into the hands of those people instead. Great images … love that lovely light!!

  2. Elephant's Child April 1, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Killing for fun is such a one-sided pursuit. And falls firmly into the ‘sick and selfish’ category in my eyes. Loved seeing these cuties, bathed in soft golden light. Thank you.

  3. Patty Chadwick April 1, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Curvaceous and cute! Reminds me of a incident while visiting Lakota friends in Wounded Knee. We were headed to Rapid, came to wide, open stretch with a large prarie dog village and got put to watch them. Instead of whistling alarm and diving, several of them, probably young, came over to check us out….a couple were so curious and came so close they almost touched my shoes…I backed away before they could!!!

  4. Susan Stone April 1, 2015 at 9:02 am

    I don’t get killing for fun, either. And even if there were an element of fun in it, how could it be fun to kill something as cute and personable as a prairie dog? It’s beyond me.

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