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Any of 22 species (genus Neotoma, family Cricetidae) of rodents that are nocturnal vegetarians of North and Central American deserts, forests, and mountains. Wood rats are buff, gray, or reddish brown, usually with white undersides and feet. They have large ears and are 9–19 in. (23–47 cm) long, including the 3–9-in. (8–24-cm) furry tail. The nest, up to 3 ft (1 m) across and usually built of twigs or cactus, is placed in a protected spot (e.g., under a rock ledge). Wood rats are sometimes called pack rats because they collect material to deposit in their dens.
Variants of WOOD RAT
wood rat or pack rat
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on wood rat, visit Britannica.com.