Pack Rats in the Woodpile

Pack rats, or wood rats, are all over in this part of the world. In hard-to-reach parts of the woods, they build these 3-foot high pyramidal nests out of sticks and twigs. Some of these are beautifully constructed. Around the homestead, they make nests deep down in the woodpiles. Recently, they’ve been dragging split kindling up to the top of the wood pile, for what purpose I know not. Surprising that they can and would do this.

They’re quite different from scumbag Norwegian rats. They look more like an enlarged mouse, and have white fur on their bellies. I trap them when need be, but to some extent, live and let live.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

3 Responses to Pack Rats in the Woodpile

  1. Our wood rats usually arrive in late September or October. To get ready for winter they try to get on my garden float. I can always tell when they succeed. They have a meticulous harvesting method. The cut down the plants and stack the greens in neat piles, I guess to dry. Usually I clean up the mess, but I assume they plan to return later to gather their crops to store for the winter. When they get bad, we use our live trap and relocate them to nearby Goat Island. We figure they can't return that far over water. – Margy

  2. For those who share the same philosophy of "live and let live" with regards to rodents; there are humane traps that do not harm the animal in anyway. You need to check the trap regularly though to make sure you release the animal in the wild before it gets dehydrated.

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