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Pest Library

Pack Rat

Size: Color:
Medium-sized rodents whose bodies measure about eight inches, with the tail slightly shorter than the head and body combined. Varies in color from cinnamon to brown, gray, yellowish gray, or creamy buff, depending on the species and specimen. The underside is clearly more lightly-colored than the upper part of the rat.
Pack rats are distinguished from Norway or roof rats by having more hair on the ears than either of the other two rats.


Pack rats get their name from their habit of taking small, bright or shiny objects and hoarding them in their nests. They will take beer can tabs, bottle caps, bits of foil, coins, and jewelry just to name a few items. Often, sticks or nuts the rat was carrying at the time are left at the site where the shiny object was acquired, thus the additional nickname of "trade" rat. They are mainly nocturnal creatures but may be active during the day. After establishing themselves within a building, pack rats will feed on foods within the building but will continue to forage for most of their food outdoors.


Pack rats tend to be more of a problem in buildings in most of the countries. Most species of pack rats are excellent climbers and some are actually semi-arboreal in preference -- meaning they will nest in trees. Others are ground nesters and will dig burrows in which to live. Numerous rats may occupy a single den.

Tips for Control

The best way to avoid invasions of mice is to (1) provide as little harborage as possible that might attract rodents, and (2) seal as many holes and cracks in the outside of the home through which mice might enter. Follow these recommendations to help prevent rodents from seeking the shelter provided by your home:
Keep firewood stored as far from the home as possible and store it off the ground.
If possible, remove any piles of debris, stones, bricks, etc. If these are near the foundation of the home they serve as harborages to attract rodents. Once there, it is any easy step for rodents to enter the building itself.
Do not allow piles of leaves to accumulate next to the home's foundation. This also serves as attractive harborage for rodents - mice in particular.
Seal any hole or crack larger than 1/4 of an inch. A good rule of thumb is that if a pencil can fit into it, a mouse could too. Large holes or cracks should be stuffed with steel wool or wire mesh before sealing with caulk or foam, otherwise rodents could chew through to enter.
Install good, thick weatherstrip on the bottom of all doors to prevent rodents from entering.
Remember, our service includes coverage of commensal rats and mice, and much of the service provided is to inspect for signs of rodents and to maintain preventive control measures.