Welcome to MedLibrary.org. For best results, we recommend beginning with the navigation links at the top of the page, which can guide you through our collection of over 14,000 medication labels and package inserts. For additional information on other topics which are not covered by our database of medications, just enter your topic in the search box below:
The Desert woodrat (Neotoma lepida) is a small species of pack rat native to desert regions of western North America, ranging from southeastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho, south to California in the U.S., and Baja California and extreme northwestern Sonora in Mexico.
This pack rat is 8.5 to 15 inches long. Their coloring is a pale gray with light undersides, but the fur on the throat region is gray at its base. The tail is distinctly bicolored.
They feed on beans and leaves of mesquite, on juniper, and on parts of available cacti, apparently without getting injured by the spines. They also eat creosote, thistle, ephedra, rattlesnake weed, mustard, sagebrush, and buckwheat. They will also eat other green vegetation, seeds, fruits, acorns, and pine nuts. In desert habitats, they are highly dependent upon prickly pear cacti for water balance, although they can be sustained on creosote year-round.
Desert woodrats are aggressively solitary. They may defend water sources such as succulent plants against other species, and perhaps prevent other species from obtaining water during droughts.
The Desert woodrat sometimes appropriates the burrows of a ground squirrels or kangaroo rats, and will fortify the entrance with sticks and bits of spiny cactus collected from Jumping and Teddy-bear Chollas. This provides a formidable defense against predators. Living quarters are also often built against rock crevices, at the base of creosote or cactus plants, or in the lower branches of trees. Rock crevices appear preferred where available, but pack rats generally adapt to any situation. Houses are used for nesting, food caching, and predator escape. Nests are constructed of dried vegetation, usually fibrous grass parts or shredded stems, and are located within the stick house.
These pack rats are generally found in sagebrush scrub areas, in chaparral, and in deserts and rocky slopes with scattered cactus, yucca, pine/juniper, and other low vegetation. They are most abundant in rocky areas with Joshua trees at an elevations ranging from sea level to 2600 m (8500 ft). They are active year-round and are mainly nocturnal.