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MAMMALS » SMALL
Allegheny Woodrat

Allegheny Woodrat
Neotoma magister

These "pack rats," which are very similar in appearance to Eastern Woodrats, occur in the central part of Tennessee north of the Tennessee River.

Description
: A medium-sized rodent with long, thick fur, prominent ears, large eyes, very long, distinct whiskers, and a furry, bicolored tail that is less than half the total length of the body. The color of the fur on the back is grayish-brown mixed with some black, while the throat, feet, and underside are white. Tail color is sharply contrasted between blackish brown above to white below.
Length: 14.0 - 17.5 inches
Tail: 6.0 - 8.0 inches
Ears: 0.8 - 1.1 inches
Weight: 7.0 - 13.5 ounces

Similar Species:

  • Brown Rat has a more elongated snout, smaller eyes, and nearly naked tail.
  • Eastern Woodrat is smaller than Allegheny Woodrat, but identification can only be confirmed through detailed analysis of skull and dental formations, and possibly an expert.

Habitat
: Generally restricted to rocky habitats in forested areas, often at higher elevations, including caves, rock shelters, cliff faces, talus slopes, and rock outcrops.

Diet:
A vegetarian diet primarily including nuts, seeds, fruits, grasses, and fungi. An important food source is mass producing trees.

Breeding information:
They begin breeding in late winter and will continue breeding throughout much of the year. Females have a gestation period of 30-37 days and can produce up to 3 litters annually. Females give birth to 1-5 (average 2-3) young in early spring. Young begin to forage independently within a month.

Status in Tennessee:
The Allegheny Woodrat is uncommon, and Deemed in Need of Management by Tennessee Department or Environment and Conservation.

Fun Facts
:
  • Allegheny Woodrat, like the Eastern Woodrat, is commonly known as a "pack rat" due to its habit of collecting shiny objects such as bottle caps, coins, nails, and keys and bringing them back to their large, spherical nests (middens).

Best places to see in Tennessee: Caves, cliffs, and rock shelters.

For more information:

Sources:
Schwartz, C.W. and E.R. Schwartz. 2001. The Wild Mammals of Missouri, 2nd Edition. University of Missouri Press and Missouri Department of Conservation, Columbia, MO.

Wiley, R. 1980. Neotoma floridana. Mammalian Species. The American Society of Mammalogists. No. 137, pp. 1-7.