The dusky-footed wood rats (Neotoma fuscipes) that inhabit the nests in my previous post (see 02-03-2016) are mostly nocturnal therefore difficult to photograph. Friends found a dead wood rat on their property (Modoc County CA) and gave it to me. I was happy to have a specimen to photograph, even if it was no longer alive.
Also commonly called pack rats or trade rats, dusky-footed wood rats are brownish or blackish above with white underparts and feet. The tail is almost as long as the head and body combined. Unlike Old World rats whose tails are covered in conspicuous scales, the wood rat tail is covered with hairs long enough to obscure the scales. There are “dusky” hairs sprinkled on the top of the hind feet, hence the common name. The head of the wood rat is long and narrow.