Dogs & Cats of the Badlands

I’m going to get away from the Yellowstone images for a while and share some images I made on our way home, when we stopped by the Badlands NP in South Dakota. Today’s post includes a Black-tailed Praire Dog and one of it’s predators, the Bobcat.

The Badlands has several, rather large prairie dog towns. In the winter, it is common to find Bobcats lying in ambush as they work on catching breakfast. We were in the Badlands for two full days and found bobcats at the prairie dog towns both days, sometimes multiple bobcats at any one time. We were first alerted to the presence of a large, male bobcat at one of the prairie dog towns by one of the Badlands NP rangers. Seeing our out-of-state license plates, he stopped, rolled down his window and struck up a conversation with us. This ranger was a very knowledgable person, having worked at the Badlands NP for 6 years. After finding out I was a photographer, he was very helpful, giving me directions to the bobcat activity, as well as where to look for the area’s other wildlife: Bighorn Sheep, bison and Pronghorn Antelope.

As we approached the area where the ranger had spotted the bobcat, we slowed down and creeped along the roadway. Within a few minutes, we found our target! As you can see, he was crouched low next to a burrow, waiting and hoping an unsuspecting Prairie Dog would emerge from the burrow:


Bobcat waiting at Praire Dog burrow


Bobcat waiting at Prairie Dog burrow


A bit later, as we drove back into the area, the bobcat was gone … was he successful in his hunt? We don’t know, but here is what he was after:


Black-tailed Prairie Dog


As I mentioned, we saw several bobcats at this location, and over two days of photographing in the Badlands NP. I’ll share some more bobcat images in a followup post. 


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