Bushy-Tailed Woodrat

bushy-tailed woodrat
Bushy-Tailed Woodrat
Kennan Ward/Corbis

Also called packrat, this creature has a habit of stealing shiny objects to add to its den of sticks, bones, and vegetation.

A smaller nest is tucked inside the seven- or nine-foot (2- or 3-m) -diameter den, which may be found on cliffs, rock slides, rocky outcroppings, and in caves and canyons.


Bushy-tailed woodrats eat mainly green plant matter, but also twigs, nuts, and seeds, some of which may be stored in the protective outer layer of the nest for later consumption.

Although this creature is basically terrestrial, it does climb, making use of its tail for balance, and occasionally it builds its nest in trees at heights of up to fifty feet (15 m).

Spotted owls, bobcats, and weasels are just a few of this species' predators.

When alarmed, the woodrat makes a loud drumming sound by beating its hind foot against the ground.


Animal Facts

Name: Bushy-Tailed Woodrat (Neotoma cinerea)

Family: Muridae (Rodents)


Range: Western United States and Canada

Habitat: Rocky areas in arctic alpine and arid regions

Diet: A variety of green and woody vegetation, as well as insects

Head and Body Length: 7 to 9 inches (17 to 24 cm)

Tail Length: 5 to 9 inches (12 to 24 cm)

Weight: 7 to 21 ounces (200 to 600 g)

Life Cycle: Gestation about 35 days, two to six young born in spring or summer

Description: Peppery brown coat; pale fur underneath; sharp claws; bushy, squirrel-like tail

Conservation Status: Common

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