Western Wood Rats

Wood rats construct nests, known as middens. These are similar to those of water-dwelling beavers and are constructed of scavenged bottle caps, shingles, paper, hide, feathers and shotgun shells, among other found waste. Wood rats are also commonly referred to as packrats and trade rats.

While wood rats are most common in the western United States and northern Mexico, they are adaptable and are also known to inhabit areas in the eastern United States. Their presence has been noted as far north as Canada. They reside primarily in rocky areas and are active year-round.

These rats grow to an average of 35 cm from nose to tail, but actual sizes vary between species. Wood rats are gray in color and feature bushy tails. The wood rat’s predators include coyotes, weasels, bobcats and owls. Wood rats are solitary and nocturnal in nature. As such, they are rarely seen by humans.