How to Get Rid of Prairie Dogs | Top 7 Tips


Unless you know this breed, you’d know that we aren’t talking about actual dogs but a type of rodent that infest gardens and backyards. They are communal critter that is very adorable to look at but equally destructive, especially when it comes to handling them outdoors. 

Despite their destructive nature, prairie dogs are very impressionable and intelligent. However, thanks to their small size, they are swift on their feet, so if you think about manually catching them, it will be a pretty tough ride. 

Sticking a trap also doesn’t work out in everyone’s favor, especially since they easily bypass these shortcomings. So, how to get rid of prairie dogs? Well, this post will highlight everything you can do to humanely and non-humanely get rid of prairie dogs from your backyard.

Also read: How to Get Rid Of Chipmunks? | 10 Effective Ways

What Kind of Habitat Do Prairie Dogs Live In?

If you are sitting here wondering why prairie dogs suddenly infiltrate your home or backyard, you aren’t the only person. These tiny critters live in areas with high vegetation and are surrounded by grass and roots. 

However, what drives the prairie dogs the most into these areas is the availability of foods, especially when it comes to fruits, rotten veggies, grains, etc. These are the key food sources for which these tiny creatures are consistently hunting.

If your backyard or house provides all of these favorable living conditions, you know why they repeatedly return to your backyard.

Prairie dogs are very expert burrowers, making it difficult for people to hunt them down and catch them from the backyard. Don’t worry because we have looked up some of the effective ways in which you can get rid of these critters in no time at all.

List of Ways to Get Rid of Prairie Dogs

Before capturing and eliminating the prairie dogs from your backyard, you must identify the type. There are a few different species available, so learning about them ahead of time is ideal, especially if you end up hurting them in the process and they are an endangered species.

Some of the common types of prairie dogs include:

  • Black-tailed prairie dog
  • Gunnison’s prairie dog
  • Mexican prairie dog
  • Utah prairie dog
  • White-tailed prairie dog

Besides the white-tailed prairie dog, the most common type found, all the other species are endangered. So, you want to humanely eliminate them from your home to keep their species alive.

Following are some of the best ways to get rid of prairie dogs:

1. Install a Trap

If you notice an increase in the infestation of prairie dogs in your backyard, we’d highly recommend starting with something basic – a trap.

Since these tiny critters are quick on their feet and often like to stay burrowed inside the ground, you need to strategically place the traps around the backyard to ensure that they fall into the trap, and you can then remove them from your premises safely.

A range of humane traps is available in hardware stores that you can pick up at your convenience. You need to ensure that the trap has minute wirings that will not allow the critter to escape after getting trapped. Since they are under stress when trapped, we’d recommend wearing gloves when picking up the trap to displace them to some other spot.

2. Hunting

This isn’t a humane way of eliminating prairie dogs from around your backyard, but it is ubiquitous. However, since more and more species of prairie dogs are becoming endangered, a range of strict rules and regulations are associated with hunting them.

We recommend you familiarize yourself with these basics before jumping straight into the process. This is where most of the complications arise. Don’t hunt them if you can’t distinguish their species.

3. Use Rodenticides

Neogen Ramik Green Fish Flavored Weather Resistant Rodenticide Nuggets

If the infestation of the prairie dogs has gone out of hand and there’s nothing you can do to control that, your next best option is to use chemicals and poison. Again, this is not a humane way of getting rid of these rodents, so we’d recommend that you only plan this if you are sure of the species and they aren’t endangered.

Also, using chemicals and poisons present in rodenticides can end up causing harm to the soil and the plants, killing them in the process. You’d want to keep your children and pets out of the reach of such products too.

4. Use Gas Cartridges

Vulcanus Butane Gas Cartridge

Using gas cartridges for capturing rodents has been around for quite a while now. It isn’t anything new and has a 50-50 chance that the prairie dog will either die inside the burrow or might crawl outside and get captured in the trap you set up outside the burrow. Using gas cartridges suffocates the critter, pushing them outside of the burrow.

The types of gases used to fumigate the burrows can vary. The use of carbon monoxide is the most common out of the lot. So, if you are trying to get a hold of them, we recommend watching for their movement and habits. Watch out for the areas that they infiltrate the most. 

5. Get Rid of Food Sources

Bread Crumbs
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The main reason why a prairie dog visits your backyard is in search of shelter and food sources. If you provide them with both, chances are that they won’t consider leaving the area at all. Instead, you need to make the area inhabitable. And the easiest way to do that is by eliminating almost every food source you can think of.

It can include fallen fruits, vegetables, and even rotten plants that have grown into weeds. Keeping the area devoid of food sources will push the prairie dog to look for other places with optimal food sources. Also, if you have open trash cans, that is a food source.

6. Get Spiked Fencing

Fencing and wiring around the perimeter of your home can effectively keep the prairie dogs out of the backyard too. However, you need to be on top of your game. These creatures are tiny, which means they can fit right through the smaller outlets.

So, when installing fencing or barricades with wires and mesh, you must ensure that the wiring or mesh is closely placed and entwined. This will allow you to make the most out of the situation without allowing them entry into your home. Ideally, we’d recommend that you get spiked fencing around the house’s perimeter. This will prevent the prairie dogs from climbing through the top of the fence.

7. Get Professional Help

Sometimes, when dealing with a very extensive infestation of prairie dogs or endangered species loitering around your backyard, the last thing you want to do is do something wrong. You don’t want to hurt them in a way that results in their death, especially when their numbers are declining in the wild.

In such cases, we recommend calling professionals. Several individuals even directly contact animal control to help them manage the infestation. You can opt for that route too. However, getting hold of animal control in your local area can be difficult and sometimes very time-consuming.

So, initially, you can contact pest control people with expertise in catching rodents and smaller creatures like prairie dogs. They can harmlessly catch these creatures and then relocate them to a separate area that is safe for them to live in. We recommend you prioritize this above anything else.

There are several ways how to get rid of prairie dogs, and we have listed a few of them. Always make sure that you try to trap and catch them as a first resort instead of killing them. Also, it is ideal to familiarize yourself with the legalities of killing or poisoning a prairie dog for your safety.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Moles in The Garden? | 7 Effective Remedies

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which Kind of Poison Kills Prairie Dogs?

If you are using rodenticides, we recommend using the commonly found Rasol. It is very potent and has immediate effects in killing these creatures and freeing the area from their damage and destruction.

Is It Legal to Poison Prairie Dogs?

Several legal issues are associated with killing and poisoning prairie dogs, especially regarding endangered species. So, we’d recommend that you proceed with caution.

What to Do with Dead Prairie Dogs?

You must dispose of the dead prairie dogs with utmost vigilance. If you aren’t sure what to do, call animal control to help you.

By James Edwards

James Edwards is a writer & editor with almost 15 years of experience from Murphys, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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