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Prairie Animals

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  • Hettmoe


  • BrentD


  • Remo


  • 25/06


  • 2 weeks later...



  Few if any of the pics appear to be enhanced; true?  


Care to share your lens/camera combo?

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Thanks for the kind words, guys.

The grizzlies and wolves haven’t made it back this far on the prairie yet. 

Moose wander thru at times.....I shoot badgers with completely different equipment.

Almost all of my photos of animals are shot with a Nikon D7000 or D7200, and either a 300 f4, or a 500 f5.6 PF.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Since the topic is prairie animals (my favorites), I thought I would add a few "different" ones that you all over look.  


No artwork level photography, unfortunately, but these are critters you walk past all the time and never notice.


Zapus hudsonicus - Prairie Jumping Mouse - hops like a kangaroo.  This one was rescued from the fire in my front yard that you can see smoking in the background.



Geomys bursaris -Plains Pocket Gopher - this one climbed out of a dump truck at a truck stop. They are larger than you would think and almost never observed alive.  But you will trip over their mounds - piles of soil pushed on top of the vegetation but with no visible borrow entrance.  They are incredibly important, disappearing in most places, and poorly known.




Sigmodon hispidis - Hispid cotton rat.  Common in the southern plains but effectively absent north of Missouri/Kansas.  Can be super abundant.  Expanding northward.  They are about the size of your fist for comparison.



This is not my photo, but it is an Onychomys leucogaster - Northern Grasshopper mouse.  This guy is about the size of a vole.  In Iowa it is found only in crop fields, but to the west and south it is a common short grass prairie species.  It howls like a wolf and kills other mice for dinner, especially in the winter.  



I should have a ton of others, but they are almost all on 35 mm slides, or stuck on other computers.  I'm a bit of a dinosaur I guess. 

Anyway, there are hundreds, even thousands of small mammals that you walk by everyday and never see.  Some of them are probably more important than those great big things with bones on their heads.  :)





gopher face with blaze.JPG

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What great photos!

I envy you guys that have masted the camera!...It is voodoo as near as I can tell!

Judging by your photos and those of the late Irish Whistler it must be an order of magnitude harder to get those 

photos than it would be to harvest the creatures with a shotgun or rifle.


Keep the photos coming they are always welcome!

God Bless

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Referring to BrentD's  pocket gopher in the above post. They are year round excavators and in the winter where the ground is insulated by snow cover they do not mound the dirt from their new burrows. Instead they simply tunnel under the snow and fill the space with spoil dirt. When the snow melts in the spring this remains.



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We don't see that here.  They do not excavate where the ground is frozen.  But  they do back fill tunnels like that.  However, other species may be involved as well - Where is that, more or less?  (I'm guessing west and maybe south of Iowa.  What is the diameter of those dirt piles?


Voles do something sort of similar, but they are not such astute backfillers.  They generally leave just tunnels.  

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East central ND.  Primarily you will see it in road ditches that had deep snow. The backfill tubes lead right to a mound series they were digging before snow cover. Our pocket gophers here are a uniform grey color and lighter underneath. When I was in grade school dad had 160 acres of alfalfa. He bought me a dozen pg traps and that was my summer job on the farm. He was very specific not to trap any weasels.

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