Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Vladimir Dinets
Photo Copyright Vladimir Dinets

The Mexican woodrat, Neotoma mexicana, occurs in parts of the southwestern United States, as well as in much of Mexico. In Utah, the species occurs only in the southeastern corner of the state, where it prefers rocky mountainous areas with relatively open ground. Unlike many other woodrat species, the Mexican woodrat does not build elaborate dens, but rather creates dens in old buildings, rock crevices, and hollow trees.

Females of the species may produce one or two litters of two to five young during the summer. Mexican woodrats are generalized feeders, consuming seeds, leaves, fruits, fungi, cacti, and various other foods as available. The species is primarily active at night.

Woodrats, which are native to the New World, can be distinguished from Old World rats by the presence of hair on their tails rather than bare scaly skin.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.