Bushy-tailed Woodrat - Neotoma cinerea
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Species is relatively common within suitable habitat and widely distributed across portions of the state
- Details on Status Ranking and Review
ScoreG - 200,000-2,500,000 km squared (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Comment344,876 square Kilometers from Natural Heritage Program range maps
ScoreE - Relatively Stable (±25% change)
CommentHabitat is likely stable within +/- 25% since European settlement
ScoreU - Unknown. Short-term trend in population, range, area occupied, and number and condition of occurrences unknown.
CommentNo data on trends available
ScoreH - Unthreatened. Threats if any, when considered in comparison with natural fluctuation and change, are minimal or very localized, not leading to significant loss or degradation of populations or area even over a few decades’ time. (Severity, scope, and/or immediacy of threat considered Insignificant.)
CommentNo operational threats in the next 15-20 years identified
ScoreC - Not Intrinsically Vulnerable. Species matures quickly, reproduces frequently, and/or has high fecundity such that populations recover quickly (< 5 years or 2 generations) from decreases in abundance; or species has high dispersal capability such that extirpated populations soon become reestablished through natural recolonization (unaided by humans).
CommentNot Intrinsically Vulnerable. Species matures quickly, reproduces frequently, and/or has a high fecundity such that populations recover quickly (< 5 years or 2 generations) from decreases in abundance. Species has good dispersal capabilities such that e
ScoreC - Moderate. Generalist. Broad-scale or diverse (general) habitat(s) or other abiotic and/or biotic factors are used or required by the species but some key requirements are scarce in the generalized range of the species within the area of interest.
CommentRequires rock outcrops or similar structures for its nests, but otherwise can occupy a diversity of habitats
Raw Conservation Status Score
3.5 + 0 (geographic distribution) + 0 (environmental specificity) + 0 (long-term trend) + 1 (threats) = 4.5
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).
Western Hemisphere Range
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version)
Map Help and Descriptions
(Observations spanning multiple months or years 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 (common or occasional) 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 2012, 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 observation 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 listed as associated with 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 listed as 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.
Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific 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 assignment of common versus occasional association.
If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.
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: mtnhp.org/requests
) 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. 2012. Mammals of Montana. Second edition. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana. 429 pp.
- Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998. Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates. Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT. 1302 p.
- 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
Human Land Use
Recently Disturbed or Modified
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems
Sparse and Barren Systems
Wetland and Riparian Systems
- Occasionally Associated with these Ecological Systems
Human Land Use
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).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Adelman, E.B. 1979. A survey of the nongame mammals in the Upper Rattlesnake Creek drainage of western Montana. M.S. thesis. University of Montana, Missoula. 129 pp.
- Dood, A.R. 1980. Terry Badlands nongame survey and inventory final report. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and Bureau of Land Management, Helena, MT. 70 pp.
- Foresman, K.R. 2012. Mammals of Montana. Second edition. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana. 429 pp.
- Hoffmann, R.S. and D.L. Pattie. 1968. A guide to Montana mammals: identification, habitat, distribution, and abundance. University of Montana, Missoula. 133 pp.
- Jones, J.K., D.M. Armstrong, R.S. Hoffmann and C. Jones. 1983. Mammals of the northern Great Plains. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. 379 pp.
- Kritzman, E.B. 1977. Little mammals of the Pacific Northwest. Pacific Search Press, Seattle, WA.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
Do you know of a citation we're missing?
- [PRESI] Powder River Eagle Studies Incorporated. 1998b. Spring Creek Mine 1997 wildlife monitoring studies. Powder River Eagle Studies Incorporated. Gillete, WY.
- Allen, K.L., T. Weaver, and D. Flath. 1994. Small mammals in Northern Rocky Mountain ecosystems. Unpubl. report to Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service, August 31, 1994. Montana State Univ., Bozeman. 54 pp.
- American Gem Corporations. 1996. Application for an Operating Permit and Proposed Plan of Operations: Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine, Granite County, Montana. August 1996
- Anaconda Minerals Company, and Camp, Dresser & McKee. 1981. Anaconda Stillwater Project 6-month environmental baseline report. CDM Project No. 3139. Vol. I Appendix. Jan. 15, 1981.
- Buck, C.L. 1939. Pattern correlation of mammalian teeth as a means of identification. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 55 p.
- Butts, T.W., Western Technology and R.L. Eng. 1993. Continental Lime Indian Creek Mine, Townsend, MT. Life of Mine Wildlife Reconnaissance. In Life-of-Mine Amendment. Continental Lime, Inc., Indian Creek Mine & Plant. Vol. 2. October 13, 1992.
- Carey, A. B. 1991. The biology of arboreal rodents in Douglas-fir forests. USDA, Forest Service, Gen.Tech.Rep. PNW-276.
- Clark, S.G. and M.R. Stromberg. 1987. Mammals in Wyoming. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Public Education Series Number 10. xii + 314 pp.
- Corbett, J. 2011. Evaluation and management of select natural cave and abandoned mine features of the Lewis and Clark and Helena National Forests, Montana. Bat Conservation International. 18pp plus appendices.
- Craighead, A.C. 2000. Pellet and scat analysis as indicators of present and past habitats. M.Sc. Theses. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 219 p.
- Cramer, P.C. 1992. Small mammal diversity and abundance in Douglas Fir old growth forests. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 64 p.
- Elliott, Joe C. and Hydrometrics, Inc., Helena, MT., 1994, Supplement to wildlife baseline investigation life-of-mine expansion plan: Regal Mine, Barretts Minerals, Inc., Madison County, Montana. August 2000. In Life-of Mine Expansion Plan: Barretts Minerals, Inc., Regal Mine, Madison County, Montana. Vol. 2. App. C: Baseline Wildlife Reconnaissance. December 1999.
- Eng, R.L. 1976. Wildlife Baseline Study [for West Fork of the Stillwater and Picket Pin drainages]
- Escherich, P.C. 1981. Social biology of the bushy-tailed woodrat, Neotoma cinerea. University of California Publications in Zoology 110: xiv + 132 pp.
- Farmer, Patrick J., and Thomas W. Butts, Western Technology & Eng., Inc., Helena, MT., 1994, McDonald Project Terrestrial Wildlife Study, November 1989 - November 1993. April 1994. In McDonald Gold Project: Wildlife & Fisheries. [#18]. Seven-up Pete Joint Venture, Lincoln, MT. Unpub. No date.
- Finley, R.B., Jr. 1958. The wood rats of Colorado: distribution and ecology. Univ. Kansas Publ. Mus. Nat. Hist., 10:213-552.
- Fjell, Alan K., 1986, Peabody Coal Company Big Sky Mine, Rosebud County, MT. Wildlife monitoring report: 1985 field season. March 1986.
- Fjell, Alan K., and Brian R. Mahan, compilers., 1984, Peabody Coal Company Big Sky Mine, Rosebud County, MT. Wildlife monitoring report: 1983 field season. February 1984.
- Fjell, Alan K., and Brian R. Mahan., 1983, Peabody Coal Company Big Sky Mine, Rosebud County, MT. Wildlife monitoring report: 1982 field season. May 1983.
- Fjell, Alan K., and Brian R. Mahan., 1985, Peabody Coal Company Big Sky Mine, Rosebud County, MT. Wildlife monitoring report: 1984 field season. February 1985.
- Fjell, Alan K., and Brian R. Mahan., 1987, Big Sky Mine, Rosebud County, MT. Wildlife monitoring report: 1986 field season. April 1987.
- Foresman, K.R. 2001. The wild mammals of Montana. American Society of Mammalogists, Special Publication Number 12. Lawrence, KS. 278 pp.
- Geppert, T. J. 1984. Small mammals of the Shield Trap, East Pryor Mountain, Montana. M.S. thesis. University of Iowa, Iowa City. 45 pp.
- Grayson, D.K. and S.D. Livingston. 1989. High-elevation records for Neotoma cinerea in the White Mountains, California. Great Basin Naturalist. 49:392-395.
- Halvoison, C. H. 1982. Rodent occurrence, habitat disturbance and seed fall in a larch-fir forest. Ecology 63(2):423-433.
- Hanauska-Brown, L., B.A. Maxell, A. Petersen, and S. Story. 2014. Diversity Monitoring in Montana 2008 – 2010 Final Report. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Helena, MT. 78 pp.
- Humphris, Michael., 1990, Wildlife Monitoring Report. Spring Creek Coal Company 1990 Mining Annual Report. Appendix I. April 11, 1990.
- Humphris, Michael., 1993, Wildlife Monitoring Report. Spring Creek Coal Company 1993 Mining Annual Report. Appendix I. April 11, 1993.
- Humphris, Michael., 1994, Wildlife Monitoring Report. Spring Creek Coal Company 1994 Mining Annual Report. Appendix I. April 1994.
- Johnson, L.J. 1960. Mammal studies on the Lubrecht Forest, Montana: a preliminary report. Proc. Mont. Acad. Sci. 20: 40-47.
- Johnson, M.K. and R.M. Hansen. 1979. Foods of cottontails and woodrats in southcentral Idaho. Journal of Mammalogy. 60(1): 213-215.
- Kelsall, J. P., Oct.-Dec. 1971, A Range Extension for the Bushy-tailed Wood Rat
- Lampe, R.P., J.K. Jones Jr., R.S. Hoffmann, and E.C. Birney. 1974. The mammals of Carter County, southeastern Montana. Occa. Pap. Mus. Nat. Hist. Univ. Kan. 25:1-39.
- Martin, P.R., K. Dubois and H.B. Youmans. 1981. Terrestrial wildlife inventory in selected coal areas, Powder River resources area final report. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Bureau of Land Management, Helena, MT. No. YA-553-CTO- 24. 288 p.
- Martin, Steve A., ECON, Inc., Helena, MT., 1982, Flathead Project Wildlife Report, 1981-1982. November 30, 1982.
- Matthews, W.L. 1981. Broadus-Pumpkin Creek baseline inventory - wildlife. Bureau of Land Management, Miles City, MT. 83 p.
- 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.
- Negus, N.C. 1950. Fluctuation in the population of Neotoma cinerea (woodrat) in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Journal of Mammalogy 31:196.
- Pattie, D.L. and N.A. M. Verbeek. 1967. Alpine mammals of the Beartooth Plateau. Northwest Science 41(3): 110-117.
- Powder River Eagle Studies, Inc., Gillette, WY., 1996, Spring Creek Mine 1995 Wildlife Monitoring Studies. Spring Creek Coal Company 1995-1996 Mining Annual Report. Vol. I, App. I. May 1996.
- Powder River Eagle Studies, Inc., Gillette, WY., 1997, Spring Creek Mine 1996 Wildlife Monitoring Studies. February 1997.
- Powder River Eagle Studies, Inc., Gillette, WY., 1999, Spring Creek Mine 1998 Wildlife Monitoring. March 1999.
- Reichel, J.D. 1986. Habitat use by alpine mammals in the Pacific Northwest. Arctic and Alpine Research. 18(1): 111-119.
- Reichel, J.D. and S.G. Beckstrom. 1993. Northern bog lemming survey: 1992. Unpublished report. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 64 pp.
- Reichel, J.D. and S.G. Beckstrom. 1994. Northern bog lemming survey: 1993. Unpublished report. Montana Natural Heritage Program. Helena, MT. 87 pp.
- Reid, F. 2006. Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America, 4th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston and New York, 608 pp.
- Rust, H. J. 1946. Mammals of northern Idaho. J. Mammal. 27(4): 308-327.
- Sawyer, H. E. 1935. Studies on the rodents of Montana. M.A. thesis. University of Montana, Missoula. 111 pp.
- Schwab, Nathan. 2003. Mine Assessments for Bat Activity on Lands Managed by the BLM, Missoula Field Office 2003. Report to USDI BLM Missoula FO. Missoula, MT. 10pp.
- Schwab, Nathan. 2004. Mine Assessment for Bat Activity on Lands Managed by the BLM, Missoula Field Office 2004. USDI BLM Missoula FO. Missoula, MT. 16 pp.
- Scow, K.L. 1981. Ecological distribution of small mammals at Sarpy Creek, Montana, with special consideration of the Deer Mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 73 p.
- Smith, F. A. 1997. Neotoma cinerea. American Society of Mammalogists, Lawrence, KS. Mammalian Species No. 564:1-8.
- Spring Creek Coal Company., 1992, Wildlife Monitoring Report. Spring Creek Coal Company 1992 Mining Annual Report. Appendix I.
- Thompson, L.S. 1982. Distribution of Montana amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Bozeman: Montana Audubon Council. 24 pp.
- 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.
- Tweten, R.G. 1984. Baseline survey of furbearing mammals within the South Fork drainage Sun River, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 63 p.
- Van Horn, R.C. 1993. Ferruginous Hawk and Prairie Falcon reproductive and behavioral responses to human activity near the Kevin Rim, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 86 p.
- Waage, B.C. 1988. Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1988 Field Season. December 1988.
- Waage, Bruce C., 1992, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report, 1991 Field Season. December 1992.
- Waage, Bruce C., 1993, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report; 1992 Field Season. December 1993.
- Westech, Inc. [Western Technology and Engineering]. 1989. Reconnaissance of terrestrial wildlife resources in the Pauper's Dream project vicinity, Aug. 1988. Prepared for Hydrometrics, Inc., Helena, MT. 22 pp.
- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH), Helena, MT., 1994, Terrestrial Wildlife Reconnaissance: Interim Report. Golden Sunlight Mines, Inc., Oxide Expansion. February 1994.
- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH). 1994. Wildlife Monitoring Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1993. Montana SMP 85005. OSMP Montana 0007c. Mar. 12, 1994.
- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH)., 1993, Wildlife Monitoring Asaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1992. Montana SMP 85005 R1. OSMP Montana 00078. 1993.
- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH)., 1994, Wildlife Monitoring Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1994. Montana SMP 85005. OSMP Montana 0007D. Febr. 24, 1994.
- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH)., 1996, Wildlife Monitoring Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1995. Montana SMP 85005. OSMP Montana 0007D. Febr. 23, 1996.
- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH)., 1997, Wildlife Monitoring Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1996. Montana SMP 85005. OSMP Montana 0007D. Mar. 1997.
- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH)., 1999, Wildlife Monitoring Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1998. SMP 85005. OSMP Montana 0007E. April 1999.
- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH)., 2000, Wildlife Monitoring Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1999. Montana SMP 85005. OSMP Montana 0007E. February 2000.
- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH)., 2001, Wildlife Monitoring Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 2000. Montana SMP 85005. OSMP Montana 0007E. February 2001.
- Western Technology and Engineering, Inc., Helena, MT., 1989, Reconnaissance of terrestrial wildlife resources in the Basin Creek Mine Amendment 5 vicinity, 1988-1989. November 1989. In Basin Creek Mine Permit Amendment No. 5 - Paupers Pit Southwest, Block B and leach Pad No. 3. Basin Creek Mining, Inc. (Pegasus Gold Corp.). For Montana Dept. of State Lands and USFS Deer Lodge NF.
- 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"