pack rat

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pack rat,

member of the mammalian order Rodentia, characterized by front teeth adapted for gnawing and cheek teeth adapted for chewing. The Rodentia is by far the largest mammalian order; nearly half of all mammal species are rodents.
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 of the genus Neotoma, of North and Central America, noted for its habit of collecting bright, shiny objects and leaving other objects, such as nuts or pebbles, in their place; also called trade rat or wood rat. Most common in the southern and western parts of the United States, but found as far south as Nicaragua, the pack rat stores the objects it collects to decorate its nest. The rodent may reach a length of 18 in. (45.7 cm) including tail, has soft brown fur, and resembles a squirrel with large ears. It eats nuts, berries, seeds, twigs, and roots. Its nest is a large stick structure built in a sheltered area. The desert species adorns its nest with bits of cactus, turning it into an impenetrable fortress. A litter is born after a gestation period of 33 to 39 days and contains from two to six young. Pack rats are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Rodentia, family Cricetidae.
References in periodicals archive ?
A friend of mine lost his glasses to a pack rat," says Kenneth Cole of the U.
Cole and Arundel revealed the local ice age climate by considering the unique temperature gradient of the Grand Canyon along with clues from pack rat scat and fossilized pieces of a plant called Utah agave that turn up in middens.
Betancourt notes, however, that the data from pack rat middens are "messy and subject to large uncertainties" because radiocarbon techniques can pinpoint a date only to within roughly 100 years.
The Smead National Pack Rat survey looked into organizational challenges in the home and at work.
Piles of debris around a cactus, bush, or tree are signs that a pack rat is in residence.
We live in an age of pack rats,'' Sanchez of San Dimas Lock-Up said.
Citywide, he puts the number at 900 compulsive pack rats, living in just about every neighborhood, and that may only be the tip of the iceberg.
They all share one thing, obsessive-compulsive behavior,'' says Bogard, known simply as ``Bogie'' by the city's pack rats he tries to help because he knows the truth.
Bogie's boss, Assistant Fire Marshal Alfred Hernandez, says the veteran fire inspector has developed a special relationship with the city's pack rats.
I spent a recent day riding around the San Fernando Valley with Bogie, looking in on his pack rats, and talking with their neighbors.