While you might know the term “pack rat” as a term for someone who likes to hoard things, you might be surprised to know that there is such thing as an actual rodent called the pack rat.
Of course, that’s not its actual name. This is the white-throated woodrat, which is quite commonly found in Arizona.
If you’re now worried about pack rats in your home, or would like to be prepared so you know what to look out for, then keep reading. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about pack rat breeding and more.
What Is the Pack Rat?
The pack rat is the white-throated woodrat, or Neotoma albigula. It’s commonly found in the southwest desert, which means it’s quite common in Arizona. This means that it’s very likely that in addition to other rodents, pack rats might take up residence in your home.
The pack rat can grow up to 15 inches long and weigh about half a pound. Its fur is dark gray to brown, with a lighter shade on its underside. This is what gives it the “white-throated” part of its name.
When looking at a pack rat, you’ll quickly notice one key difference between it and other rodents: its tail is actually shorter than its body. It’s also covered in short hairs. Not only that, but it has very large ears.
The pack rat has an average lifespan of 2 years.
Pack Rat Breeding Behavior
Because the pack rat has such a short lifespan, you can expect it to be sexually mature relatively early on. In fact, they reach adulthood in as little as 6 weeks!
Once they’re sexually mature, pack rats will mate and give birth to litters of 2 or 3. This can keep happening every 6 to 8 weeks. As you can see, you can quickly have a pack rat problem on your hands if they’re left to keep breeding.
Pack Rat Nests
Now that you know how often pack rats breed, you might be worried about them taking up residence on your property. So you need to know where they like to nest, plus what their nests look like.
Arizona pack rats will build their nests in dens, which are around 3 to 5 feet in height, as well as diameter. Inside, they’ll construct their individual nests, as they’re solitary animals. There’s usually 1 adult per nest.
The nests will be made out of anything they can get their hands on. This means that if they’ve taken up residence in your home, they’ll exhibit “pack rat” behavior, stealing away anything lying around.
What’s special about their behavior is that they’ll reuse old nests as much as possible before moving onto new nests. This means they can potentially do quite some damage.
Outside, you’ll often find them nestled into cacti, bushes, trees, under the hood of your car, in woodpiles, under sheds, or even your garbage can if they can get in. If they manage to get in your home, you’ll find pack rats in places like your attic and ceiling voids, where they’re nicely hidden away.
Dens located outside may be hard to spot, as outside just looks like a pile of twigs and branches. Professional Tucson pest control such as Gecko Pest Management can use their trained eyes to spot potential dens for you.
Pack Rat Diet
The Arizona pack rat enjoys eating mesquite beans and cacti. However, like most other rodents, they’re opportunists. This means they’re pretty open to scavenging and eating whatever they can find.
As you can guess from this, if you have lots of morsels scattered about your house, plus you have fantastic nesting material, then pack rats might take up residence in your home.
How to Tell if You Have Pack Rats
Not only can pack rats multiply very quickly, but they can also do lots of damage to your property. This is why even though they’re not generally a pest in Arizona (in fact, they’re key to the ecosystem), they can actually be quite a local nuisance.
Pack rats are nocturnal and will come out at night when you’ve gone to bed. They’ll scavenge for both food and nesting material.
Like most other rodents, they’ll chew on things like wood and wires. This is because the wood helps keep their teeth filed down and they think wires are plant roots that stand in their way.
So if you’ve noticed signs of damage in your home or of other property (like your car), then the likely culprit is rodents.
Another sign that you might have a pack rat infestation is if you’ve noticed small droppings. And if you see grease marks along your baseboards, this can be further confirmation of rodents in your home.
This is because they like to hug the wall for safety when traveling around. And because they produce grease naturally, this ends up rubbing off on surfaces.
Keep Your House Free From Pack Rat Activity
Now that you know more about pack rat breeding and more, you’ll have an easier time spotting these rodents in your home. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to tell between pack rats and other urban rats.
In either case, if you observe abnormal things on your property, it’s best to have a pest control expert take a look. That way, they’ll be able to confirm an infestation and locate where your problem areas are. They can also then set you up with a customized plan to eliminate and keep away these pests.
If you think you’ve seen a pack rat or two on your property, then book an appointment with Gecko Pest Management now for Tucson pack rat removal. We are a local family-owned and operated business that’ll go the extra mile for you.