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Friday, July 22, 2016

The Original Hoarders

Pack Rats - the Original Hoarders



I am often asked, "Do you ever find something valuable in a pack rat nest?

My answer, not really, but occasionally we do find something interesting. Pack rats are fascinating creatures and I never cease to be amazed at some of the things they decide to "collect".

Above is a sample of some recent finds.  

A. Plug - no cord, just the plug. Pack rats are notorious for their love of chewing wires. In this case the rat neatly severed the plug from the cord and took it home as a souvenir. 

B. Rubber Ducky - who does not love a rubber ducky? Pack rats do! The size of this rubber ducky is about the size of a pack rat's body. Why would the rat grab it and drag it all the way home? One of life's great mysteries. 

C. Walking Wind-up Teeth - never let it be said pack rats do not have a sense of humor.

D. Balls - in this case three University of Arizona play golf balls, all nibbled upon.  More than any other man-made object pack rats love and collect balls.  Balls, balls, balls - golf balls, tennis balls, wiffle balls, even a soccer ball once. Pack rats love balls! 

E. Toy Fire engine - this is not some match box toy. This is an old die-cast toy from the fifties. 

F. Jesus - when everything in the world wants to eat you, it never hurts to have a little religion.

G. Bow Tie - adult pack rats live alone, but they are social and do interact with other rats. Sometimes maybe formally. 

H. Squeaky Toy Poodle - the best pack rat finds come from nests near homes with small children or dogs.  The rats love to "borrow" toys of all types.

I. Flip Flop - Do you ever leave your flip flops outside by the patio door and find one missing? Somebody did. It is incredible that a rat could carry something as big and heavy as a flip flop off. Note that the fabric "upper" has been completely chewed off.  

J. HO Train track - I have to ask myself - where do the rats find this stuff? 

H. Pack of Cigarettes - these were were found in a nest about forty feet away from a patio table where they were left. The owner was not happy to find them missing. 

L. Silver Spoon - A personal favorite of mine because there is a wonderful children's book called Desert Night Shift, by Conrad J. Storad, that I read to my grandchildren. The main character of the book, Penny Pack Rat, experiences many perils searching for a silver spoon as a gift for her Nana. A great book for kids, and yes indeed pack rats do seek out silver spoons. 

M. Sheriff's Badge - another toy. Finding a toy in a rat nest never get old and always makes my day.

N. Champagne Cork (slightly chewed) - Champagne, black ties - who knows what goes on while we are asleep and the pack rats roam.

99% of what pack rats collect is natural- sticks, stones, cactus. They also collect dead small animal carcasses, animal dung of all types, snake skins and bones. Most of the rest is trash. The items pictured were found in the process of removing hundreds of pack rat nests over a period of months.