If you have a friend or relative with a penchant to hoard, then you probably understand how they get their name from the furry little rodent we call a pack rat. Prevalent in Southern Arizona deserts, these rodents have a tendency to build nests and accumulate objects. Pack rats can be frustrating to homeowners because their destructive capacity dramatically exceeds their physical size. They carry disease, damage vehicles, and even cause fires.
Pack Rat, Mouse, or Roof Rat?
If you spy a creature scurrying about your home or yard, the first thought that strikes you may be, “What was that?!” Pack rats, Mice, and Roof Rats are all common in Arizona, but their physical characteristics are quite different. If you know these distinctions, you’ll be able to identify what you saw out of the corner of your eye.
- Pack rats, also called wood rats, are grey to greyish brown. They are 6-8 inches long with a furry tail. Pack rats prefer to wreak their havoc outside, making nests in yards and cars.
- Mice are the smallest of the group, measuring about 3-4 inches long. Their scaly tail is about the same length as their body. Their damage primarily happens indoors from chewing through wood or wiring.
- Roof rats spend the majority of their time above ground, in trees, roofs, and attics.They are darker brown or black and including their tail can be up to 18 inches long. These rodents are most likely to cause structural damage as they chew wires and wood in homes.
High Dollar Damage
Unfortunately, the hoarding and indiscriminate chewing instincts of pack rats can be quite destructive. One Arizona resident learned this when he parked his car under a shady Mesquite tree for a few weeks. When he opened the hood of the car he found the engine compartment filled to the brim with mesquite pods with many of the wires chewed through. Getting that pack rat infested car running again was not cheap!
Even more hazardous, Pack Rat damaged electrical wires cause fires. According to some estimates, as much as 25% of fires of unknown cause may be attributed to exposed wiring from pack rats and these other rodents.
AC units and pool equipment can also be targets. These rodents are not only dangerous, they are fast, sometimes causing thousands of dollars of damage in only one night.
Pack Rat Nests
Despite being prolific breeders, pack rats usually live alone, with one adult per nest. According to the Arizona Sonora News Service, their nests are full of nature’s leftovers. They can contain sticks, rocks and cacti pieces, and anything else the little creatures can get their paws on, like small toys or shiny objects. Their nests are usually found in sheltered areas such as rock clusters, tree bases, cactus roots, cars, BBQ grills, sheds, and attics.
How to Prevent Pack Rats
There are a few simple but crucial things homeowners can do to discourage pack rats on their properties:
Seal possible entry areas
Eliminate water and food supplies
Trim landscaping and vegetation
Seal trash bags and place them in bins with closed lids
Pack Rat Nest and Removal Service
If you see signs of pack rats—the evidence of gnawing or fecal pellets, call right away. It is crucial that both the nest and the rodent be removed. Nests that are not properly removed may be reoccupied in an unending cycle.
Have you noticed any signs of rodents? Request a FREE inspection. Don’t wait … Call today!