I mean the Prairie Dog and Semi Wild Burro show all located on wildlife loop. Hanging around Custer and giving my long lens and arms a workout (I forgot how heavy the 150 – 600mm is), Roy and I decided to go hunt up some Prairie Dogs and maybe find some burros to add to the mix. We have gotten lucky with both seeing animals and being able to take the time to shoot them. I came prepared for the long haul, my chair, my ice vest, and camera now all that was needed was some cooperating animals. Before we set up shop to watch the Prairie Dogs a pack of burros and humans blocked our way.
These burros are descendants of the original pack mules used in the park. Here is a link to another blog that also talks about the burros They were first used as work animals then were used to ferry passengers up to the top of Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak). When trips were discontinued the burros were left to roam the park. The fact that their ancestors were accustomed to human contact, they have remained semi wild. This allows tourist to feed them (apples and carrots). This year has been very fruitful for the herd, as a fire damaged some of them a few years ago and they lost some to diabetes. So the babies are a welcome sight. It was funny how mellow the baby was but also how close mama was to her foal. I did pet the foal she was so soft. The photo of this little girl just happened (right place right time). I got lucky that I did not get kicked. I was telling all of the kids do not walk behind the burro so what do I do. Yup, walk close behind the burro. I was busy taking pictures and almost screamed when one of the adults nudged my arm I’m glad he didn’t like my camera. The burros decided to move on so it was time to go to town. (Prairie Dog Town that is.)
So upon arriving I pull out my chair, don my vest, and grab the camera, i did not have to wait long until they were popping like whack a moles. I was also excited that I kept bouncing around to this hole and that hole. I finally settled down with a family of five mom dad and three little ones. The interaction was precious watching the sentry stand tall while the rug rats ran a muck. Then out of the corner of my lens I catch two lovers in the heat of the moment, ok maybe just foreplay. It all started with a hug, a coy gesture, some nibbles, and then the rest is up to you. Another mound held a mom and two babies who stuck together like glue. It was almost like a game of Simon Says. a behavior I tried to catch but always just missed was the way they throw food in the air and then jump after it. I was great at catching the landing. I spent a little over an hour photographing these cute little critters and look forward to more adventures with them. Roy and I have run across three other areas to set up camp with them.