Biome: Great Southwest
Biography: Also called a pack rat, a wood rat collects sticks, twigs, cactus parts, animal dung, and other debris. These items are used to build a large nest among cacti, shrubs or rocks. The nest is continually enlarged with newly found treasures, and can measure three feet high by eight feet wide. A series of tunnels within the structure leads to a nesting area of soft plant fibers where the wood rat spends the day. The elaborate nest provides protection from seasonal temperature extremes and predators. Foraging for nest materials and food usually occurs at night. Although a high proportion of its diet is comprised of cacti, a wood rat also feeds on berries, mesquite beans and other seeds. The water needs of the rat are met by consuming the succulent cactus.