("eNature", 2003; "Natural Diversity Information Source", 2004; "Oklahoma Museum of Natural History Mammal Key", 1989; "Utah Division of Wildlife Resources", 2004; Meaney and Armstrong, 1994; Wilson and Ruff, 1999), or Mexican woodrats, is found in the Southwestern United States from northern Colorado and southern Utah down through Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas and into Central Mexico and Guatemala.
- Range elevation
- 15 to 4025 m
- 49.21 to 13205.38 ft
desert woodrats because the tail has two distinct colors. It is brown on top and white on the bottom. The average body length of is 300 mm and the average tail length is 125 mm. At birth, the animal weighs 9-12 grams and reaches 140-185 grams as an adult. ("eNature", 2003; "Utah Division of Wildlife Resources", 2004; Davis and Schmidly, 1997; Davis, 1960; Meaney and Armstrong, 1994; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)is grayish to brownish on its back and its underside is buff to white. It can be distinguished from
- Range mass
- 140 to 185 g
- 4.93 to 6.52 oz
- Range length
- 290 to 417 mm
- 11.42 to 16.42 in
- Average length
- 300 mm
- 11.81 in
Not much is known about the mating systems of the Mexican woodrat. Agonistic behavior has been observed in the laboratory setting during mating. Also, males may make a gasping sound when approaching a female to mate. (Meaney and Armstrong, 1994)
Mexican woodrats breed from March until May and usually produces two litters during that time. Each litter can have 2-5 pups, and the gestation period is about 33 days. The young are weaned anywhere from 4-6 weeks after birth. Females reach sexual maturity at a younger age than males. After 1-2 months, females can reach sexual maturity and even produce their own litters during that same breeding season. On the other hand, males reach sexual maturity at around 8 months. Also, (Davis and Schmidly, 1997; Meaney and Armstrong, 1994; "eNature", 2003; "Utah Division of Wildlife Resources", 2004; Davis and Schmidly, 1997; Davis, 1960; Meaney and Armstrong, 1994; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)experiences a post-partum estrus.
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- post-partum estrous
- Breeding interval
- Mexican woodrats will usually have two litters per breeding season.
- Breeding season
- Breeding occurs from March through May and may last longer in the southern part of the range.
- Range number of offspring
- 2 to 5
- Range gestation period
- 31 to 34 days
- Average gestation period
- 33 days
- Range weaning age
- 4 to 6 weeks
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 2 (low) months
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 9 months
The young are found in a nest along with either an adult male or adult female, not both. Not much is known about the care or investment provided by the parents, but these animals are born underdeveloped and reach sexual maturity at 2 months for females and 9 months for males. The time of weaning is 4-6 weeks. ("eNature", 2003; Davis, 1960; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)
- Parental Investment
The lifespan of this species is not known.
Woodrats have a home range of about 20 to 25 yards from the den. (Palmer, 1954)
Communication and Perception
In general, woodrats communicate with squeals, and warning signals are made by thumping the hind feet and vibrating the tail. Gasping or chirping sounds are made during mating. Scentmarking by rubbing the ventral side and foot-thumping is also common in (Cornely and Baker, 1986; Palmer, 1954)as a means of communicating.
- Other Communication Modes
- Plant Foods
- seeds, grains, and nuts
- Other Foods
- Foraging Behavior
- stores or caches food
The known predators of Mexican woodrats are owls, foxes, coyotes, weasels, rattlesnakes, and bobcats. There are no anti-predator adaptations known for this species. (Ward and Ganey, 2003; Wilson and Ruff, 1999)
- Ecosystem Impact
- disperses seeds
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Although it is not documented as a common ocurrance, Mexican woodrats may serve as food for humans. (Davis, 1960)
- Positive Impacts
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
- Negative Impacts
- carries human disease
This species does not have a conservation status because it is not threatened.
Matthew Wund (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Jill Ceitlin (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor, instructor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
an animal that mainly eats fruit
an animal that mainly eats seeds
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.
an animal that mainly eats fungus
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
- stores or caches food
places a food item in a special place to be eaten later. Also called "hoarding"
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
movements of a hard surface that are produced by animals as signals to others
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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Peterson, A., V. Sanchez-Cordero, B. Beard, J. Ramsey. 2002. Ecologic niche modeling and potential reservoirs for chagas disease, Mexico. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 8/7: 662-667.
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Ward, J., J. Ganey. 2003. "Rocky Mountain Research Station" (On-line). Coordinated Management-monitoring and Research Program for the Rio Penasco Watershed Restoration Project. Accessed March 15, 2004 at http://www.rmrs.nau.edu/lab/4251/spowmon/research.html.
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