Woodrats (packrats) are about 7 – 8 in. long with a tail of about 6 ½ – 7 ½ in. They have big ears, large eyes, long fur, harry tails, and obvious whiskers. Their color can be brown, grey, or black on their upper body and light brown or white on their feet and belly.
Interesting Woodrat Facts
– There are nine different species of woodrats in the U.S..
– Some species live on the ground and others live up in trees.
– Different species will live in areas with deserts, forests, or places in between.
– They can live for three or so years, but are more often eaten by predators before then.
– Some people see woodrats as rather attractive and cute.
– In the wild, these rodents will eat a wide variety of vegetation, seeds, berries, nuts, insects, birds, snails, and small mammals.
– Often times if they nest indoors, they will still choose to feed outdoors.
– One may notice that they leave very distinct traveling trails (about 3 – 4 inches wide) in the foliage from their feeding sites back to the nest. They will typically travel around 200 ft. from their nest to feed.
– Except for mating and rearing periods, these rats are usually fairly solitary creatures and do not reproduce as quickly as other rodents.
Problems Caused by Woodrat Pests
Like other rodents, these pests also have a propensity for gnawing. They will gnaw on conduits, wires, and attic/ wall void lines causing fires and power shortages. Common places they invade are summer cabins, outbuildings, carports, soffits, garage attic voids, and equipment sheds. They can cause serious damage to furniture and storage items in unoccupied summer cabins. They will tear up things like chairs, couches, and beds, using them as nesting places or carrying the stuffing to enhance their other nest locations. Woodrats will collect many different materials from a building to build their nests like matches, cloth, and different paper materials causing a definite fire hazard. Some species will also build large stick nests called “houses” and designate an area to be a “latrine” where there will be a large pile of many ½ inch oval feces. These rodents are also potential health threats that may carry pathogenic viruses, Lyme disea
Prevention of Woodrats
Woodrats have been known to enter homes through hanging tree limbs and power lines. It is recommended that one cut back their trees to reach no closer than 6 ft. to the building in cases of infestation.