Woodrat (Packrat)
Woodrat Facts »

Scientific Name:

Neotoma SPP. meaning "rodent that cuts with its teeth"


Ranges – brown, gray, black


10-16 ounces; same size as Norway Rat


7 inches

Tail Length:

7 inches; shorter than the body


Thick, rounded body; professionals describe as a "giant hamster"; very long, soft, fine fur


Large ears


Bulging black eyes


3 years


½ inch long; oval shaped; found in piles

Signs of Woodrat Damage

Droppings, gnaw marks, and urine odors are just a few signs of rat activity.


Droppings are the most commonly encountered evidence of rodent activity. Even a small rat infestation can produce literally thousands of droppings in a short period of time.

Vole runways are formed by a combination of voles eating the grass blades and the steady traffic from their shallow underground burrow to seek food along the runways. Runways are often hidden by ground cover, so you may have to pull back overhanging cover to find them.

An adult rat typically produces 40 to 50 droppings per day. These fecal pellets are usually dark-colored, 1/2 inch in length, and oval shaped.

Gnaw Marks

Evidence of recent gnawing is an excellent sign for determining the presence of Woodrats.

Rats tend to gnaw on wooden structures such as corners, floor joists, and wall studs. When Woodrats gnaw holes into cartons and boxes, the holes typically measure about 2 inches in diameter and contain rough, torn edges.

Collection Habits

Woodrats are also called Packrats because they will collect various objects they encounter during their night forays. They are particularly attracted to shiny or bright objects. Thus, they collect pieces of glass, cans, mirrors, coins and jewelry.

Woodrats are also called "traderats" because of the stories associated with them stealing keys, wedding rings and such at campsites. Evidently, the rats will drop whatever they are carrying at the time they encounter a new "attractive" object.

In this manner, sticks have been traded for wedding rings and berries for car keys. It is important to note that this attraction to new objects is in sharp contrast to the fear of new objects of the Roof & Norway rats.


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