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 ?
Unlike the pack rat, you with this skill can make the distinction between important and useless items because you DO know what adds value and what does not.
For a person, life as a pack rat is one of obsessively collecting, say, newspapers, computer parts, food containers, or maybe all of these.
Mammals such as banner-tailed kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spectabilis) and pack rats (Neotoma albigula) also alter the landscape of desert ecosystems and redistribute nutrients through their activities.
Of course, if there'd been grouting between the boards, that might have stopped some of the rain, but we bought what the lady said, and bought the cabin, and the pack rats (which is what she'd meant), and a kerosene water heater that threatened us with extinction every time we needed a bath.
Like pack rats, voters gather bits and pieces of political information and store them in a single place.
In fact, it is drowning us because so many of us are pack rats when it comes to information useless and otherwise.
There are so many pack rats around that someone else is probably keeping a copy.