"Woodrats are also known as Packrats, because they cache various manmade objects in their dens. This habit of collecting foreign objects is useful to scientists, who can place numbered sticks throughout an area and later open a den, record the numbers of the sticks the woodrat has carried home, and determine the size of the animal's home range. White-throated Woodrats occur on forested hillsides, rocky mountainsides, and on flat scrubland. They especially like prickly pear cactus, but also eat cholla, yucca, grass, catclaw, soapweed, and various parts of juniper trees and mesquite. They make their dens of some of these plants, which they can use as a food supply when fresh food is not available. Fossilized woodrat dens can supply information about ancient vegetation and therefore, what the climate must have been like at different times."
Links:Mammal Species of the WorldClick here for The American Society of Mammalogists species account
Original description: Hartley, F., 1894. Description of a new species of woodrat from Arizona, p. 157. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, ser. 2, 4:157-160.