Devil’s Tower fauna

Husband Jim and I were able to spend a night out under the stars at Devil’s Tower, Wyoming last week. We laughed when we drove into Devil’s Tower National Monument and saw the sign above. But then we turned the corner and saw why.

These are black-tailed prairie dogs, which are very unlike the white-tailed prairie dogs on our place in western Wyoming. The black-tailed hold their tails erect, and do not have the black facial markings that are characteristic of the white-tailed dogs.

Our white-tailed dogs live in widely scattered burrow colonies out in high elevation sagebrush range, while the Devil’s Tower black-tailed dogs live in low, grassy, dense colonies. They look different and I quickly noticed their vocalizations are very different as well. This is one of the fat black-tailed dogs from Devil’s Tower.

This is a black-tailed prairie dog from Devil’s Tower:

This is a white-tailed prairie dog from my driveway:

Other interesting encounters included a variety of grasshoppers, but I don’t know the species:

I really enjoyed this black and yellow garden spider. Love the “alien” pattern:

Best of all were the turkey vultures. We have a few here, but I still love to see them. The dark-headed vulture is an immature.