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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

Near present Old Baldy in South Dakota, the Expedition encounters their first village of prairie dogs. They pour barrels of water down their holes eventually catching one as a specimen. Shannon is still missing.

Having understood that the village of those small dogs was at a short distance from our camp, Captain Lewis and Captain Clarke with all the party, except the guard, went to it; and took with them all the kettles and other vessels for holding water; in order to drive the animals out of their holes by pouring in water; but though they worked at the business till night they only caught one of them.

Patrick Gass

At the Prairie Dog Village

Painting of the Lewis and Clark expedition attempting to flood a prairie dog hole

Painting previously located in Southern Hills Mall, Sioux City, Iowa and created by by Split Rock Studios.

a verry Cold morning    Set out at day light    we landed after proceding 5½ miles, near the foot of a round mounting which I saw yesterday resembling a dome.

William Clark

Old Baldy

Photo of Old Baldy

Photo by Ammodramus who has released it to the public domain.

ther mouth resemble the rabit, head longer, legs short, & toe nails long    ther tail like a g Squirel which they Shake and make chattering noise ther eyes like a dog, their colour is Gray and Skin contains Soft fur

William Clark

Prairie dog, Cynomys ludovicianus

Prairie dog with nesting materials in its mouth

the Village of those animals Covs. about 4 acrs of Ground on a Gradual decent of a hill and Contains great numbers of holes on the top of which those little animals Set erect make a Whistleing noise and whin allarmed Slip into their hole—

William Clark

Prairie dog, Cynomys ludovicianus

Prairie dog in a hole