Saturday, February 18, 2012

chez-woodrat: nice digs!

Bear was doing chores today, takin' wood from the pile, and stacking it.

And, lo!

This is more than just the bottom of a woodpile...

Look just below and right of center... (tho' all the acorns are the 1st hint)

A nice little Neotoma nest. So cute and cozy. Felt bad.

Neotoma cinerea, the bushy-tailed woodrat, is what we generally have around our property.

True to their names, the woodrats can't keep their tiny paws off our woodpiles,
and though this creature was evicted today,
4 feet away is a LONG, complex condominium of
oak, pine, almond, and cedar, w/a metal roof to stay dry.

An upgrade, really.

If you are a skeptic re: who else might live in this nest,
I photographed the rat poop inside
so if you need proof, I've got it handy.

All I need is 1 request, and the POOP will post. =)

I learned from Wiki re: bushy-tailed woodrat:
"The Bushy-tailed Woodrat is the original 'pack rat', the species in which the trading habit is most pronounced. It has a strong preference for shiny objects and will drop whatever it may be carrying in favor of a coin or a spoon."

The trading habit--I love that.

When doing fieldwork for my thesis, once I couldn't find the bright pink flag marking a (small mammal) trapping station. In my exhausted grubbiness I shlumped around trying to find it, pouting.

Then--PINK! and PINK PINK shiny-silver-wrapper PINK!

Large pieces of HOT PINK plastic festooned a GIGANTIC woodrat complex (N. fuscipes or N. lepida). Looked very cool. Had to admire the work. My crankiness dissipated, and I smiled. =) And leaned forward to look for shiny coins.

Freaky Skills
And, last week I was helping a co-worker veg. map a site (he veg. mapped, I tagged along and drew the stream path onto an aerial photograph), whilst cruising through the riparian zone 'neath a big old sycamore, I smelled a rat.

Make that a woodrat nest. Couldn't see it, yet, but I knew it was there. Then I found it, unsurprised.


Apparently, having spent SO much quality time with them during my thesis work, I can walk through an area and tell you if a woodrat nest is near. Not a skill I knew I had. And rather odd.

Do y'all have any freaky field skills you never anticipated? DO tell. I'd love to hear about it.



  1. um, would attracting vultures when I clean out the earthworm bin count? And why do you have this post labeled CA tiger salamander? Are you holding out on us? All salamander news must be revealed!

  2. Okay, I'll oblige. Where is the poop? We want woodrat poop!

    That's quite a construction. There are a couple of groups of true mice that do similar things here --- sticknest rats and pebble mound mice.

    Freaky field skills? I don't suppose falling over and getting covered in mud, even when there's no mud around, are considered all that skilful, although the second one is quite freaky.

  3. I always know when my son is going to call. The phone rings-and yep, it's him. My husband says that's weird. I say no-I'm a mother. Nuff said!

    And , you can keep the poo photos, thanks anyway!


  4. oh, eep! Sorry, Cindy, yes, I will post a pic of the CTS that we caught last week once I get a moment (husband is doing chores right now and I am not = recipe for justified crankiness!). I'd initially included a teaser at the end of this post, then deleted it, not editing my keywords. =)

    Great, thanks Snail. When I get back (today, tomorrow) I will SO GLADLY oblige. You are a sport to "insist."

    Love EVERYONE's freaky skills. GREAT stuff.

    Thanks for being forever amusing and charming and illuminating, y'all. =) xoxo


Cool people write inside rectangles....