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Pack Rat

Pack Rat Facts

Pack rats get their unusual name from their habit of stealing and storing household items. Trash and metallic objects, such as coins and keys, are favourite targets. In addition to taking belongings, these pests create problems for homeowners with their nesting and feeding habits.

Identification/Appearance

Pack rats, also known as woodrats, have large eyes and long whiskers. They are about 30cm long, and their tails account for half of their length. A pack rat has brownish-grey fur on its back and sides with a lighter underbelly.

Habitat

Most areas, from dry deserts to mountains and plains, are host to at least one species of pack rat. In general, the pests can survive anywhere within their habitat range that provides shelter and a food source. This makes homes and yards inviting.

Diet

Pack rats eat vegetation, seeds, nuts, and fruits. When they get into buildings, the pests consume stored cereals and grains. Pack rats living inside may draw from outdoor food sources, as well.

Life Cycle

Breeding occurs in spring. Pack rats have litters of two or three babies after a gestation period of about a month. Mothers raise newborns in nests and wean them after four weeks. A pack rat reaches maturity in about a year and has an average lifespan of around three years.

Problems/Damage

Pack rats create massive, multi-layered nests that can cause problems for homeowners. One specific area, called the midden, consists of branches, debris, and small stones held together by pack rat urine and feces. These middens often attract cockroaches and other pests. Attics, basements, and crawl spaces are common pack rat nesting sites.

When pack rats enter homes, they rip up mattresses and furniture and use the soft padding to line their nests. Their obsession with storing objects results in residents losing items such as jewellery and utensils. Pack rats are also prone to disease transmitting fleas and ticks.

Signs of Infestation

These animals typically live in seasonal homes or outbuildings like barns or sheds. Nests, droppings, trails of trampled grass, greasy rub marks on surfaces, and gnaw marks all indicate a pack rat infestation. Shiny objects may go missing when the pests invade homes.

Prevention Tips

Repairing any holes in home siding or foundations, even those as small as 12mm in diameter, helps reduce entryways for pack rats. These pests are excellent climbers, so roofs and attics need rodent-proofing as well.

Control/Removal

Prevention methods decrease the chance that pack rats will make it into homes. However, once the pests are inside, professional help is usually necessary. Traps and baits are most effective when used by trained specialists. For prompt and friendly assistance with pack rat removal, homeowners can contact Orkin Canada.

More Information:
Do Pack Rats Hibernate?
Pack Rat Deterrents
Pack Rat Diseases
Pack Rat Droppings
Pack Rats in Cars
Pack Rats in House
Pack Rat Traps
Pack Rats vs. Roof Rats