Neotoma floridana Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Wood rats are also known as ‘packrats’, because of their habit of collecting shiny objects like the tabs from soda cans to incorporate into their nests. They build stick nests or live in burrows – usually one female and her young occupy each nest.
Wood rats are roughly the same size as the more familiar Norway rat, and can be distinguished from Norway rats by their hairy tails, large, leaf-like ears, and pale-colored feet. Wood rats are active at night and climb well, often foraging in trees. They eat seeds, fruit, berries, roots and nuts.
Wood rats are not nearly as prolific as other rodents. They usually have two young in a litter and may breed three times a year. By comparison, Norway rats average nine young in a litter and have as many as eight litters a year.
The Key Largo race of the wood rat is listed as endangered.
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