pack rat

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pack rat,

rodentrodent,
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.