Packrats and neighbor-friendly release strategies.


Packrats, known to science-savvy folks as woodrats, are notorious for getting into ill-frequented areas of your home or surrounding buildings (or maybe your car, or maybe even your Tiny House…) and creating what is called a midden. It is basically a pile of sticks, bones, and other materials collected from the surrounding twelve feet or so, made into a kind of pile-den.

Packrats are known for being especially stinky. This is because they will pee on their middens to glue it all together. How special! Their urine creates what’s called amberatwhich is another word for magic preservery of ancient middens… Basically, it is such a wonderful preserver, paleontologists flip out over the stuff. Its like finding a time capsule of the local environments of the past: as in, before the colonists swept through America with a wave of destruction and mayhem we called Manifest Destiny.



So, we just caught our first packrat! We used a live trap, baited with a delicious carrot smeared with peanut butter. (both of which happen to be organic, non-GMO, which is all we have around the house–lucky packrat!) We have uploaded a video about how to set the trap. You can check that out on our Youtube account.


Now what? I won’t kill the thing. Its not really its fault that its a giant, stinky rat. Plus, its kind of cute. Though some may kill them because its simply too inconvenient for them to live-trap and then drive them off to the wilderness and release them, at this point I feel that if I were to kill something just because I don’t feel like driving is a pretty damn poor excuse for taking life. So, driving it is.


When selecting a place to release your trapped packrat, be sure to be respectful of your neighbors. Its incredibly unthoughtful to release the packrat anywhere near someone else’s home. These suckers are known to crawl up into warm, parked cars on cold winter days and wreak some serious havoc on wires and hoses inside your car. (They’ll curl right up in there and pee all over everything too. Smells so awesome when you turn the heat on in your car…) If you have packrats, chances are you’re already in the country, which means there’s plenty of deserted and dilapidated building sites where you can relocate this little guy.


Nice. Its set back from the road, and there’s just some huge open fields around it. At least a couple miles, maybe more, to the next house–but this little shack should be plenty good for a shelter so hopefully it’ll have no need to wander.


As you can see, in all directions, its pretty barren. This is a neighbor-friendly zone for releasing packrats.

I would suggest driving them at least three miles away, though five would be better. If you don’t go far enough away from your house (remember to stay away from other peoples’ houses!), they will hone in on the old midden by smell. As in, you’ll release them and they’ll come right back to you a week or so later.


There you go. You can live under that washing machine that’s knocked on its side. Perfect.



Now, we start looking further down the field. There’s another big, abandoned, and falling-apart house down there, and we decide to go check it out.
You may have to look close to see it in the picture. Its in the little copse of trees, with a red farm machine in front of it.


Yes, we got pictures while down there, and even found some kind of special surprise from Mother Nature. But it’ll have to wait for the next post so I have enough content to update regularly. Oh, honesty.



Happy hunting!

(Well, you know: live-catch-and-releasing!)





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