Last month we discussed pocket gophers, their habitats, habits and how to get rid of them. This month as the second article in a three-part series, we will be discussing pack rats.

Pack rats are wood rats who earned their name because of their habit of gathering and storing things in their nests. Pack rats are mammals with large ears, large dark eyes and a relatively long tail. They are generally about the size of the common Norway rat (yikes!). The head and body length is about 7 to 8 inches and the tail is 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 long. They can be distinguished from Norway rats by their hairy rather than scaly tail and their soft, fine fur and large ears. Their bodies are colored cinnamon, brown, gray, yellowish gray or creamy buff; generally, their feet and bellies are generally much lighter in color.

Some items they enjoy collecting include twigs, scraps of garbage, cactus, old toys, and, get ready, dog poop! The most convenient and effective way to reduce a rat population is with rodent bait stations. Since rats are shy and live in fear at the bottom of the food chain, they like to have hiding places while the forage out in the open. The bait stations not only provide such a haven, but are loaded with a bait that supports a rat’s urge to chew- and you’d rather they chew the bait blocks than your car’s wiring harness! One strategically placed station can lure and eradicate many rats at a time so this serves as a passive means to proactively reduce rat populations.

I hope these tips offer you some ideas on how to keep your yard and home rodent-free. As monthly contributors to this publication, we aim to share our advice, experiences and we are sure you will find each month’s discussion one you can benefit from.

If you have questions, comments or wish to share a pest related story, contact Eco-Logic Management Inc. at paul@ecologicmgmt.com or feel free to call us at (480) 513-1989. Ask for Michael or Paul.