Happy Chinese New Year! Tomorrow is the start of the Year of the Rat. Bushy-tailed Woodrats are found throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen regions. These solitary, extremely adorable rodents have big ears and fluffy almost squirrel-like tails, and are only very distantly related to the invasive Black and Brown Rats from Europe.
Photo borrowed from Sieg Kopinitz via iNaturalist
Woodrats are also called "pack rats" because of their hoarding and caching behaviours. They compulsively seek and collect all kinds of objects such as spoons, bits of rope, bones, pop can tabs, and sticks, and bring it back to their home or "midden". They are obsessed with shiny objects and are quite fond of "trading"; if they are carrying something back to their midden and come across something better or shinier, they will promptly drop the old thing in favour of the new one. This peculiar behaviour has also earned them the nickname "trade rat".
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