Thing in the Barn

Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:14 am

:? :? :? I caught this thing in my barn, some kind of a rat I suppose. It was tearing the feed bags apart, ate holes through a couple of saddle blankets even got across one of the cross studs and distroyed my calendar that I keep the shot and worming records on. All this was done in one night because I caught the devil the next day. It's a little bigger than a rat has the same tail and general body structure of a rat but it has circular cupped ears and a slopped down or roman nose. Anyone have any clues on what it might be. Thought maybe a pack rat but I'm not sure.

Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:41 am

A POSSUM :!: :!: :D

Sun Jul 10, 2005 4:01 pm

look out, here comes Country lookin for chow. but your description sounds like a small possum to me too.

Sun Jul 10, 2005 4:37 pm

Brent: Is the color similar to that of rats. Also, am I correct in thinking that you live in a rather dry environment so that it would be a mammal adapted to dry, rather than moist, environment. I have books and state lists of mammals of most of the western states. I believe that I have a book on mammals of California so will see what I can come up with. The larger rodents are fairly easy to identify but the smaller ones are a real problem. There can be seventy-eleven different species which are so similar externally that one can only make a positive identification by examining tooth and skull structure. Any additional description which you can supply should help. Dan

Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:41 am

:? :? It's not in the possum family unless "Old Country" has found out how to raise the pygmy variety. Possum's have pointed snouts. This critter has a roman or slopped snout. Last night a loud scratching sound woke me up. I went outside and one of these critters was thying to chew a hole through our redwood deck. It just looked into the flashlight, so it's history now. Dan, If you could find something in one of your books that would be great. Like I said, it's gray, has a slopped snout, cupped round ears and is just a little bigger than a common rat. If it had a common rats head it would be one, just a little bigger.

Mon Jul 11, 2005 9:51 am

Brent: After my last message to you I checked and do have Jameson and Peeters "Mammals of California". They have pretty good descriptions and also range maps of many mammals. They don't have photos of mammals, do have drawings of a few. When I come up with a list of possible species, I will try to find pictures in the following area mammal books: "Field Guide to N.A. Mammals", "Mammals of California and Nevada", "Mammals of the Southwest Deserts", "Mammals of the Intermountain West", and "Mammals of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico". I will get my granddaughter to come by and show me how to scan and send pictures to you. If I can come up with a good, but short, list of possible species you may be able to identify from the pictures. Anyway, we will try and I enjoy researching mammal species. I served as mammal specialist on 6-7 trips in which we took public school teachers, mainly science teachers, to the western states for two week field trips. So, I do have some background in mammals of your area although I have never lived in California. A couple of questions: should I be searching for mammals which inhabit dry regions, and have you caught or killed one of the critters. If so, does most of the tail have little or no hair but does have a tuft of hair at the tip end. Is the tail a solid color or does it have white stripes on top, on the bottom or on both surfaces. I will probably be asking additional questions as I do the research. Dan

Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:01 pm


Thanks for helping. I've killed two. Wouldn't have done it if they would only go into my live trap but they seem to avoid it like the pleg. There's no hair or tuft of hair on the tail and it's solid light gray. Looks like a common house rats tail. I know they are not kangaroo rats which do have a tuft of hair on their tails and are common to this area. We live in a dry region. Try a pack rat and see what you come up with. I found a nest today and it was full of leaves, string, wool from the saddle blankets and paper. I think the ears are the key. They're twice as big as a common house rat are round to oval and really cupped. If I get another one I'll take a picture and send it to you. I chucked the two I caught into the pasture and they're gone. Guess the owls, hawks or coyotes got them.

Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:47 pm

Brent: There is a group of rodents called woodrats, with some twelve different species which are found in the U.S. They are attracted by many objects which they see and tend to pack the items to their nest. Thus, the name packrat. We have a single species in Arkansas which frequently nests in forested areas and sometimes in man-made structures. Our species, the eastern woodrat, builds an extremely large nest of sticks, often as large or larger than a bushel basket. One sometimes finds strips of cloth, paper, etc. mixed in with the wood. California has four species of woodrats: White-throated, Bushy-tailed, Dusky-footed, and Desert Woodrat.
I believe that the Dusky-footed Woodrat is the one most likely to occur in your area. To see a picture and description, do a google search for dusky-footed woodrat. I believe the first article to come up will be e-nature. Click on that one and you should get the info on the species. Let me know if this is what you have been seeing. Dan

Mon Jul 11, 2005 10:18 pm

Brent, Maybe its one of those Chupakabra (sp) critters that used to be talked about a lot on the Art Bell show. :twisted: :twisted:

Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:35 am


Just did the search that Dan spoke of and this is what I found:


Here is the link to the article at eNature : Dusky-Footed WoodRat. Is this the critter invading your barn :?:

Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:46 am

Rudi: Would you walk me through the process by which you brought the title of the article over so that we could click on it to go to the article. A few weeks ago BD gave me instructioins on bringing the URL over. I tried that last night when doing the post to Brent. It brought the address over but it was not in a form where a reader could click on it to see the article. Thanks, Dan

Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:54 am

JB: You have my interest up on the Chupakabra mentioned in the Art Bell show. I have never seen the show and am wondering if this is a real or mythical animal. Do you have any further info on it? Thanks, Dan

Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:07 am

Dan and Rudi,

:D :D :D BINGO, you got it. That's the critter. Thanks for all your help. From the search it looks like it would be a Desert Woodrat. Only one that would fit for So. California. Plus we have alot of junipers around which they like. Glad it wasn't the Dusky Footed Woodrat. They're on the endangered species list. Plus if I saw a rat 15" long I think I would run like the wind! This guy was about 8" long.
Last edited by Brent on Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:49 am, edited 3 times in total.

Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:08 am

Dan<, Its not actually a TV show its a a radio program. I thought everybody heard of Art Bell broadcasting out of Parumph Nev. It is a program about all the weird & unusual things & sightings in this world. It is a night-time program that is on at 10:PM most places and is on thousands of radio stations.

Heres a Google on Chupacabras. ... ra&spell=1
Last edited by johnbron on Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tue Jul 12, 2005 8:19 am

Dan England wrote:Rudi: Would you walk me through the process by which you brought the title of the article over so that we could click on it to go to the article. A few weeks ago BD gave me instructioins on bringing the URL over. I tried that last night when doing the post to Brent. It brought the address over but it was not in a form where a reader could click on it to see the article. Thanks, Dan

Dan, a url can be placed between url brackets to show up as the url itself.
for example: the address for would be typed as (I put spaces behind the brackets to make them show up) This will show up as

To make it show up as a title, you need to go into the first set of brackets and place the actual url into it. So when you type it, it will look like this:
[ ] (leave out the spaces) and then put whatever title you want before the closing brackets. Ex. -"Farmallcub" and then put the closing brackets [/url].
The whole thing would look like this (without the spaces):
[] Farmallcub [/url]
And it will show up as: