Dusky-footed Woodrat is a 'pest' (an unwanted organism) that can be controlled through the use of pesticides. Dusky-footed Woodrats are most abundant in early seral stages, when hardwoods were present and in riparian areas. M A T O C Q*Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and Department of Integrative Biology, 3101 Valley Life Sciences Building, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720 A‚A­3160, USA Abstract The dusky-footed woodrat, Neotoma fuscipes, is a medium-sized rodent that inhabits lowelevation woodland habitats along the Pacific coast of North America from Oregon,throughout California and into Baja California. The Dusky-footed Woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes) is a medium-sized woodrat, grayish brown with a pale underside.
The Dusky-footed Woodrat is found statewide in California (except in the desert regions and High Sierra) and in the northwestern region of the Baja California peninsula.
The dusky-footed woodrat, Neotoma fuscipes, is the primary reservoir for Lyme disease in California, Oregon, and Washington. ABSTRACT- The dusky-footed woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes) is found in a variety of habitats from Baja California to the Columbia River in Oregon and west from the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific Coast.
ABSTRACT- The dusky-footed woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes) is an important prey species of the California spotted owl (Strix occidentalis), a species of concern in California. Dusky-footed woodrats are undoubtedly an important contributor to the richness and abundance of the wildlife in California oak woodland.
Endangered Status The Riparian Woodrat, a subspecies of the Dusky-footed Woodrat, is on the U.
The diet of the Dusky-footed Woodrat is mostly green vegetation, but also includes fruit, nuts, seeds, and subterranean fungi. The Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister) is a relative of the western packrat and is closely associated with rocky habitats in the central and southern Appalachians of eastern North America. The historic Allegheny woodrat range stretchedfrom southern New York, western Connecticut, and northern New Jersey south through much of Pennsylvania, western Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and southern Ohio and Indiana.
Allegheny woodrats were once very common in the mountains of Pennsylvania, but populations have been declining, and woodrats are now extirpated from much of their historic range. Allegheny woodrats are considered habitat specialists because they are found only in rock patches within large forests. Allegheny woodrats have brown-gray fur with a white underside and a long, bicolored and fur-covered tail. Allegheny woodrats are generally solitary, actively defend their territories, and tolerate other woodrats only during the breeding season. Allegheny woodrats are packrats and build nests deep within rock outcrops, crevices, fissures, or caves. A rather unique behavior of woodrats is the pattern of defecating repeatedly in the same location. Allegheny woodrats are often found in small and isolated clusters.The clusters are interconnected through the movement and dispersal of individual woodrats.
Soft mast plays an important role as a food source during the spring and summer months, and serves as a buffer against hard mast failures. Fungi account for about 10 percent of a typical woodrat’s diet on the Allegheny plateau in all seasons. Like many small mammals, most of the Allegheny woodrat’s activity occurs under the cover of darkness.
Many researchers hypothesize that four different factors contribute to the population decline of Allegheny woodrats.
Natural gas development within the Allegheny woodrat range has the potential to increase all four of these factors to some degree.
As a natural gas field develops, it requires the construction of new infrastructure to extract and move the gas. Allegheny woodrats depend heavily on hard mast as a high-energy food source throughout the year. The final threat from natural gas development is that it will lead to more of the landscape being accessible to raccoons. The extent to which natural gas development affects Allegheny woodrat populations will depend on the identification and protection of woodrat habitat.
The best way to sustainably extract natural gas in Allegheny woodrat habitat is to protect woodrat den sites and the forest surrounding them. Though limited, there are some reclamation options that can help to provide protective cover for woodrats. Deciduous, mast-producing trees provide important food sources for Allegheny woodrats and should be planted by these sites.
Disturbance to woodrats and their habitats can be avoided by careful planning in the early stages of a proposed Marcellus project. If woodrats or other T&E species potentially occur within the proposed development, the PNDI database will produce a receipt telling the applicant which regulatory agency or agencies should be contacted.
With a research interest in wildlife ecology, Duchamp studies the woodrat for its value as an indicator of forest health. Truth be told, the woodrats—sporting soft, gray coats and fluffy tails—are far from their better known, sewer-dwelling relatives. According to Duchamp, dwindling food supplies and harmful raccoon roundworm have added to the problem. Duchamp and his fellow researchers, including IUP biology professor Jeffery Larkin, are working to keep the woodrat off the endangered species list.

Within his field, Duchamp focuses on wildlife population and community ecology, mammalogy, and biostatistics. Addressing questions related to the conservation and management of vertebrate wildlife populations, Duchamp aims to provide information that improves people’s ability to live alongside a diverse array of wildlife. His research efforts are quantitative, bringing together diverse datasets and using innovative statistical tools. Classes Duchamp teaches at IUP include Anatomy and Advanced Anatomy for undergraduates, Mammalogy for undergraduate and graduate students, and Population and Community Ecology at the graduate level. Duchamp received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Michigan, a master’s in ecology from Indiana State University, and a Ph.D.
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MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends. Although it is called a rat, it has little in common with the nonnative Norway rat, a common pest in urban areas. There are several different species of woodrats in the United States, but the Allegheny woodrat is the only one found in Pennsylvania.
Today, local populations still exist in southwest, southcentral, and northcentral portions of the state.
At first glance the Allegheny woodrat may seem physically similar in appearance to the exotic Norway and black rats (Rattus spp.), as well as the eastern woodrat (Neotoma floridana). Though communities of woodrats may exist in suitable habitat, subpopulations are very small, with only 1–5 individuals per rock site.
The average litter size is 2–3 pups, and some females possibly produce two, even three litters between mid-March and early September. Dispersal ensures gene flow between clusters, so maintaining the habitat linkage between them is important.
Green vegetation, fungi, hard mast (nuts), and soft mast (berries and other fruits) contribute to the woodrat diet through all seasons.
This means that new roads, pipelines, well pads, and compressor stations will need to be created throughout the Marcellus region.
The American chestnut was likely a primary food source for the Allegheny woodrat before it was virtually eliminated from the landscape by an exotic fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica).
Great horned owls are habitat generalists that tend to be associated with fragmented landscapes. The simplest way to protect Allegheny woodrat habitat is to enforce a no-disturbance buffer around rocky habitats or known woodrat den sites.
Existing habitat sites and short (< 1 mile) dispersal corridors require protection from permanent forest fragmentation and dissection.
The PA Game Commission is the regulatory agency for woodrats and other mammals and bird species. Even if the PNDI review shows that there is no impact, a landowner may want to have the gas company hire a qualified consultant to do a habitat evaluation for woodrats, especially if rocky habitat is known to occur in the proposed project area.
That’s not the case for Biology Department faculty member Joe Duchamp and the Allegheny woodrat. He recently received $38,770 from AK Environmental, LLC, to assist with his monitoring of the species. The nocturnal rodents are seldom seen, living around jutting rock ledges and dunes of disintegrated sandstone near wooded areas. Widened roads, mining, and the development of homes and farms have hindered the rats’ ability to spread, resulting in unhealthy inbreeding. An important link in the ecosystem, woodrats are a food source for owls, and their travels between cave and forest promote the survival of other animals found only in caves. His interests span fragmentation and landscape ecology, population and community dynamics, urban-wildlife ecology, conservation biology, spatial ecology, applied statistics, assessing wildlife management tools, and simulation modeling. The cause of its decline has been attributed primarily to habitat fragmentation and increased exposure to parasites such as raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris).
The Allegheny woodrat is a native species with a shy demeanor associated with rocky habitats away from human development.
Some of Pennsylvania’s woodrat populations are found along the ridgetops of the Ridge and Valley province. These rock features are essential because they provide protective cover and serve as locations for nests and food caches. Allegheny woodrats can be distinguished from Norway rats by their blunt nose, long whiskers, big ears, and furry tail. Breeding in Virginia occurred year-round, with most young being born between May and October.
Debris piles of sticks, bark, bones, feathers, feces, and trash may be built to protect the openings of caves or fissures. They are apparently used over several years by multiple individuals and can become 8–10 inches wide. Acorns and other hard mast foods are important high-energy resources that are consumed year-round. Installation of this infrastructure will lead to direct forest loss as well as the dissection and fragmentation of woodrat habitat.

With horizontal drilling, natural gas can still be safely extracted from underneath the den sites without disturbing the area.
This means that no or very little surface activity should be allowed within about 1 mile of a den site. The PNDI database contains the known locations for threatened and endangered (T&E) species in Pennsylvania that have been mapped by scientists over many years.
If it is determined that woodrats do occur on the property, follow the recommendations above to protect and enhance habitat for this rare Pennsylvania native. Habitat characteristics affecting Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister) populations on the Chestnut Ridge in southwestern Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, woodrat habitat is associated with rocky cliffs, boulder piles, and talus slopes. It is a rare species in Pennsylvania, and populations have been declining over the past few decades. This unusual behavior can be helpful in determining the current or historical presence of woodrats. Allegheny woodrats will recolonize these empty habitats and may eventually start a new population.
Allegheny woodrats have larger (10–12 acres) home ranges during the summer as they forage fairly widely in search of food.
Connectivity between woodrat dens is important for the survival of an Allegheny woodrat population.
Natural gas development requires the clearing of mast-producing trees that provide food for woodrats and many other wildlife species. If natural gas development leads to the creation of multiple forest openings, it may result in an increase in great horned owl populations and Allegheny woodrat predation.
Raccoons may travel along pipelines and roads deeper into forests, leading to the spread of the parasitic nematode Baylisascaris procyonis.
In addition, potential Allegheny woodrat habitat near active colonies should be protectedso that dispersing woodrats can reach and occupy the vacant sites. Soft-mast species associated with early successional habitats, such as greenbrier (Smilax spp.) and blackberry, are also important food sources that can be planted during reclamation. The PGC reviewer will help provide information on which steps, if any, need to be taken to avoid affecting woodrats or other T&E species under their jurisdiction.
Microhabitat and landscape characteristics associated with the threatened Allegheny woodrat. Habitat loss from land development pressure continues to pose a significant threat to Allegheny Woodrat populations.
Allegheny woodrats are currently listed as threatened in Pennsylvania, and are a northeast region species of special concern. However, Allegheny woodrat populations also exist on the Appalachian Plateau in southwest Pennsylvania and in portions of Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, and Tioga Counties, where natural gas development is underway. South-facing slopes are warmer and drier than north-facing slopes because they receive more sunlight. These nocturnal animals are not commonly observed, so biologists rely on woodrat sign such as latrine sites to detect woodrats.
Habitat fragmentationby human development may block dispersal routes, making the recolonization of historic sites less frequent and less likely.
In oak-dominated forests, woodrat population trends are affected by the fluctuations in mast production.
Roads and pipelines that are created between Allegheny woodrat dens may hinder woodrat dispersal and movement between dens. Roads and pipelines may also create barriers between den sites and oak stands, separating woodrats from their food source.
Because woodrats are packrats and are continually collecting items to take back to their dens, they may act as an intermediate host for B.
Potential habitat includes rock outcrops, cliffs, ledges, boulder fields, and caves, especially when found on southeast and southwest slopes. As a result, regulatory agencies now require surveys where development projects are likely to present a significant impact on habitat within the woodrat’s geographic range. Natural gas development near Allegheny woodrat habitat can reduce the habitat quantity and quality if precautions are not taken during the planning process. Woodrats that select these slopes may have a greater probability of surviving harsh winters.
Roads, pipelines, and other forms of natural gas-related infrastructure may become barriers to woodrat movements and dispersal. Natural gas located underneath these buffers can be extracted by drilling horizontally from pads located on the periphery of the buffer zone. Persistence of Allegheny woodrats (Neotoma magister) across the mid-Atlantic Appalachian highlands landscape, USA. Terrestrial Vertebrates of Pennsylvania: A Complete Guide to Species of Conservation Concern.

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