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Are Pack Rats the Most Damaging Force in the Sonoran Desert?

Rat eating a sandwich out of a lunch bag.
To pack rats, everything is a “collector’s item.”


Arizonans often use the term “pack rat” to describe people who collect too many belongings. Until they invade your home, it’s easy to forget that pack rats are also highly-destructive animals. These large nocturnal rodents feature big ears, furry tails and multicolored hair. They like to collect things in their nests. Such items range from wine corks to jewelry.

Harmful Behavior

When pack rats infest your home or other buildings on your property, they can inflict considerable damage. These creatures may destroy bedding and furniture in an effort to acquire nesting materials. They frequently transmit parasites and diseases. Rats can cause problems outside of the home as well. For instance, they might kill trees by gnawing on the bark. These animals are also known to chew through automotive wiring.

Infestation Clues

If you see a live rat indoors, it’s likely that a major infestation has already developed. Rodents usually hide; they only come into view when their population grows. Try to notice the more subtle signs of an invasion, and take action before the problem turns severe.

Check baseboards and closets for feces. These animals produce significantly larger droppings than mice. Each fecal pellet measures at least one-half inch long. Keep in mind that the pack rat possesses great climbing abilities, so you might find droppings in tall cabinets or an attic. You may also detect urine, especially if rats have recently been active. This liquid exudes a musty odor.

At night, listen for rodent noises after you turn off the lights. You might notice them scurrying around in walls, closets or the cellar. It’s also possible that you’ll hear a pack rat make squeaking sounds as they gather nesting materials, food and random small objects.

How to Take Action

In the Grand Canyon State, this rodent often breeds at least twice yearly. It’s wise to react quickly if you encounter an infestation. Put your food in glass, metal or ceramic containers. Carefully inspect buildings for gaps and cracks. Fill them with steel wool; rats easily chew through wood or plastic. The Backyard Gardener recommends using sheet metal to protect outdoor plants.

Consider calling a professional who offers rodent control services. This will bring about a faster solution that minimizes damage and protects your family from diseases. Pest control experts employ reliable exclusion techniques, irresistible baits and the best rat traps available. Comprehensive training and expertise make it possible for licensed exterminators to banish rodents for years to come.

The professionals at Burns Pest Elimination know how to tackle pack rat infestations. We use various types of rat traps to kill or capture these rodents and remove them from your home. Our experienced staff can also find and seal rodent entryways. Burns provides rodent control services in southern Nevada and many parts of Arizona. For an estimate or further details, please contact Burn’s Pest Elimination today.