Master's Theses

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access

Date of Award

Spring 1967

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Dr. Eugene Flaherty


An automatic camera device, live-traps, and direct observations under red light were utilized in obtaining information on a woodrat population. Activity periods, movements, behavioral mannerisms, and ecological aspects were recorded. Woodrats were found to be most active from dusk to midnight with the largest percentage of activity occurring between the hours of 8:30 to 10:30. No significant difference in activity was noted between sexes. Activity is highest on nights of new and quarter moon phases and lowest on nights of full moon. Adults generally demonstrate dominance over juveniles and subadults. Woodrats normally restrict their foraging activities to within 171 feet of the nest. Movements are generally confined to areas with overhead vegetation or rock outcroppings. No homing behavior was observed. Bubo virginianus and Mustela frenata are thought to be the most devastating predators. The prime sources for food and shelter materials are provided by Rhus trilobata and R. glabra. These and other low growing species in combination with rock outcroppings provide optimum habitat. In prairie areas underground dens and rock crevices are the most abundant home sites. Low population densities are presumably due to marginal habitat.


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Copyright 1967 Robert W. Wiley

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