IUCN threat status:

Near Threatened (NT)

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Description

The Allegheny Woodrat is the only woodrat in its Appalachian Mountain range. Instead of building large stick houses, these Woodrats build cup-shaped nests of twigs, bark bits, and grass in rocks and buildings. They may pile up sticks in front of the nest for added protection, and they also establish middens where they accumulate everything from leaves and sticks to trash. They forage only at night, on fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves, and fungi. They breed between March and September, and usually have two offspring in a litter. The gestation period is about 35 days. In a year when the weather is good and food is abundant, a female can produce as many as four litters in a year, and yet populations are declining in several parts of the range. Possible reasons include parasites in the Woodrats (a roundworm has been identified), harsh winters, or loss of available food because gypsy moths have defoliated plants.

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© Smithsonian Institution

Source: Smithsonian's North American Mammals

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