Bushy-tailed Woodrat - Neotoma cinerea
FWP Conservation Tier
The Bushy-tailed Woodrat (the legendary pack rat of western stories) grows to approximately 15 inches and 11 ounces in Montana. Together with its flat, squirrel-like tail, long full whiskers, large hairless ears, protruding eyes, and its size make it easy to recognize. Its coloring is lead gray on the back and outside and white, pinkish or buff on the feet, ears, and belly (Foresman 2012). It may also have black or dark brown hairs on the back, giving it a darker appearance. Juveniles can have blue-gray fur on top (Kritzman 1977).
Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations:
(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version)
Map Help and Descriptions
(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)
Occurs in crevices where there are large amounts of sticks, leaves & other debris used to build nest. Rockslides, rocky slopes, abandoned homesites, badlands. Occasionally lodges nest in tree forks high above ground (Hoffmann and Pattie 1968, Adelman 1979, Dood 1980).
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
How Associations Were Made
We associated the use and habitat quality (high, medium, or low) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for
vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
- Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2001, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
- Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species’ range and habitat requirements;
- Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point database associated with each ecological system;
- Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of “observations versus availability of habitat”.
Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.
In general, species were associated as using an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.
However, species were not associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if
point observations were associated with that system.
High, medium, and low habitat quality was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species in the literature.
The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignments of habitat quality.
If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact Bryce Maxell at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (406) 444-3655.
Suggested Uses and Limitations
Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.
These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp
) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.
Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.
Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.
Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).
Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species’ known geographic range.
- Adams, R.A. 2003. Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. 289 p.
- Dobkin, D. S. 1992. Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34. Missoula, MT.
- Foresman, K.R. 2001. The wild mammals of Montana. Special Publication No. 12. Lawrence, KS: The American Society of Mammalogists. 278 p.
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- Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young. 1999. Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32. 72 p.
- Maxell, B.A. 2000. Management of Montana’s amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species. Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1. Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana. 161 p.
- Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath. 2004. Amphibians and reptiles of Montana. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.
- Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
Forest and Woodland Systems
Open Water / Wetland and Riparian Systems
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems
Sparse and Barren Systems
Evidently not extremely selective in its diet of foliage, fruits and seeds of shrubs & forbs, conifer & fungi. Stores food for winter consumption (vegetation) (Jones et al. 1983).
A noisly pest in cabins sometimes - rummages around pilfering small items. May drop an item to take a desirable item. Builds nest of sticks, bones, etc. (Jones et al. 1983).
MT breeding season not known. May span the warmer months, or may be more restricted. In northern latitudes possibly only 1 litter produced/year (Jones et al. 1983).
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View WorldCat Record View Online Publication
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- KELSALL, J. P., OCT.-DEC. 1971, A RANGE EXTENSION FOR THE BUSHY-TAILED WOOD RAT
- Kritzman, Ellen B. 1977. Little mammals of the Pacific Northwest. Pacific Search Press, Seattle, WA.
- Martin, Steve A., ECON, Inc., Helena, MT., 1982, Flathead Project Wildlife Report, 1981-1982. November 30, 1982.
- Montana Dept. of State Lands. U.S. Office of Surface Mining., 1985, Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Consolidation Coal Company. CX Ranch Mine, Big Horn County, Montana.
- Morrison-Maierle Env. Corp., Helena, MT., 1993, Biological assessment and wildlife reconnaissance, Holnam Cement Plant, Trident, Montana. In Application to Amend Operating Permit 00004 for Trident Quarries, Three Forks, Montana. Exhibit DD: Wildlife Reconnaisance Study. June 28, 1996.
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- Spring Creek Coal Company., 1992, Wildlife Monitoring Report. Spring Creek Coal Company 1992 Mining Annual Report. Appendix I.
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- Thompson, Richard W., Western Resource Dev. Corp., Boulder, CO., 1996, Wildlife baseline report for the Montana [Montanore] Project, Lincoln and Sanders counties, Montana. In Application for a Hard Rock Operating Permit and Proposed Plan of Operation, Montanore Project, Lincoln and Sanders Counties, Montana. Vol. 5. Stroiazzo, John. Noranda Minerals Corp., Libby, MT. Revised September 1996.
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- Waage, Bruce C., 1992, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1991 Field Season. December 1992.
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- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH). 1994. Wildlife Monitoring Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1993. Montana SMP 85005. OSMP Montana 0007C. Mar. 12, 1994.
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- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc., Helena, MT., 1989, Reconnaissance of the wildlife resources in the vicinity of the Kendall Venture Mine. January 1989. In Kendall Venture North Moccasin Project: Amendment to Operating Permit 00122, Fergus County, Montana. Vol. 2, App. A, Feb., 1989.
- Additional Sources of Information Related to "Mammals"