Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Daniel Uresk


In 1983 zinc phosphide, strychnine with prebait, and strychnine without prebait were applied to black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies in west-central South Dakota. Short-term (4 days later) and long-term (1 year later) poison efficiency and impact (short-term and long-term) on horned larks (Eromophila alpestrus) and other seed-eating birds of the prairie dog colonies were evaluated. Prairie dog burrow densities ranged from 54-187 burrows/ha with an average burrow density of 114 ±8 (± SE) burrows/ha. Rodenticide short-term control reduced active burrows by 95% with zinc phosphide, 42% with only strychnine, and 78% with prebaited strychnine. More zinc phosphide was consumed after poisoning than strychnine. Long-term control was maintained with prebaited strychnine and zinc phosphide but not with strychnine only. Fifty species of birds were observed. Immediate impacts with poisons reduced horned lark relative densities 66% with strychnine only and 45% with prebaited strychnine. No measurable reduction was found with zinc phosphide. No direct long-term impacts on horned larks were found. Indirect impacts occurred on horned larks through habitat changes from prairie dog control. No short-term or long-term poison impacts were found on the seed-eating avian group.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Prairie dogs--Control
White-tailed prairie dog--Control


Includes bibliographical references (pages 50-56).



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University