Best Desert Pest

Packrats

STAFF PICK: We'd heard horror stories of chewed auto wiring and ruined pianos, but it never really got personal until we moved into an old stone building in the foothills of the Tucson Mountains. Now we hear their scamperings daily in the inaccessible crawl space above the ceiling, and they've taken to nesting on the air cleaners of our two ancient automobiles. A packrat will make 50 trips a night to rebuild a nest thrown away the day before. Don't they have anything else to do? Over all this, the threat of hantavirus lurks, and packrat-feeding, blood-sucking bugs are always around. You haven't lived until you've been awakened by an explosion of packrat movement directly above your head at 3 a.m....and don't even think about what's up there in the ceiling. Five hundred pounds of cholla pads? And why do they get cholla for their nests? How comfy can a nap on a relaxing bed of cholla be? No wonder they're so active at night. But we're tolerant. After all, we're outnumbered.

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