Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

April 1987


We present a model to compare prairie dog complexes with known black-footed ferret habitat. The model assumes: 1) black-footed ferret populations require prairie dog colonies for survival, 2) prairie dog colonies can accommodate an additional black-footed ferret for each approximate 50 hectare increase in size, 3) a higher percentage of overall area covered by prairie dogs can accommodate more black-footed ferrets. We list four biological variables. They are: 1) total hectares in prairie dog colonies, 2) percent of total complex inhabited by prairie dogs, 3) intercolony distance, 4) an estimate of burrow density per hectare. In addition, two non-biological parameters are included. They are development potential and land ownership patterns. The model can provide an initial critique of a prairie dog complex for a black-footed ferret search or as a reintroduction site.