Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Neotoma fuscipes

Dusky-footed Woodrat

Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae

Image of Neotoma fuscipes
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Conservation Status: Least Concern.


Dusky-footed Woodrats, which are really very small rodents, build huge, elaborate houses of sticks. A house can measure more than a meter in diameter and be a meter high—and one Woodrat may have as many as three houses. Houses usually include several nesting and resting chambers and several for storing food and other treasures: Woodrats bring home a great many tidbits lost by or stolen from humans, often shiny objects like pens or keys. Why Woodrats do this is a mystery. Sometimes a latrine is included within the house, and sometimes it is located outside. Woodrats tend to be solitary, but the houses, which can be built on the ground, in the tree canopy, on rocky slopes, or even in abandoned buildings, are used by one Woodrat after another. Dusky-footed Woodrats tend to live in woods where there is a dense understory. Mice in the genus Peromyscus are often found in the same places, sometimes even living in Woodrats' houses.

Also known as:
Packrat, Trade Rat

Sexual Dimorphism:
None

Length:
Average: 404 mm
Range: 335-468 mm

Weight:
Range: 205-360 g

References:

Baird, S.F., 1857 [1858].  Mammals. In Reports of explorations and surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, Vol. 8, Pt. 1, p. 495. Beverly Tucker Printer, Washington, D.C., 8(1):1-757.

Links:

Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Neotoma fuscipes

Image of Neotoma fuscipes
Click to enlarge. (93kb)