(Other Names: Un Ratón)
Neotoma bunkeri (N. lepida b.)
1. Profile (Picture)
Pictures: Related Species: Bushy-tailed Woodrat (Neotoma cinerea) (29 Kb JPEG) (Univ. Wash.); Southern Plains Woodrat (Neotoma micropus) (34 Kb JPEG) (Davis & Schmidly); White-throated Woodrat (Neotoma albigula) (79 Kb JPEG) (CPLUHNA)
Bunker's woodrat probably weighed more than 400 g (0.9 lb). Insular woodrats, such as
Bunker's woodrat, are largely confined to rocky or boulder covered areas. Woodrats
generally eat plant matter such as roots, stems and leaves; seeds, and some invertebrates. They do not drink much water, but
during dry seasons they eat on the fleshy stems of cacti and other plants that are well
filled with water. Woodrats are generally nocturnal
and are active throughout the year. They are good climbers, but they usually do not climb
far up in trees. Woodrats are solitary animals.
*** Bunker's woodrat had apparently evolved the largest body size of any insular woodrat (Smith 1993).
*** Woodrats collect a variety of material for their nests, often selecting pieces of silverware or other shiny objects from camps. This habit has given them the name of "trade rat" or "pack rat."
*** Sometimes woodrats live close enough to farms to be considered pests, but for the most part they have little economic significance.
Bunker's woodrat has only been found on Coronados Island off of southeast Baja California, Mexico. Based on the complete lack of midden piles and debris from old woodrat houses on Coronados, Smith suggested that the animals have been extinct for years or even decades (Smith 1993). Following a program of sampling rodent populations on islands in the Gulf of California from 1991 to 1999, the investigators consider Bunker's woodrat to be extinct (Alvarez-Castaneda & Ortega-Rubio 2003).
"From the fragmented bits of evidence available and from interviews with local fisherman who visited the island [Coronados], we were able to piece together what we feel is a likely scenario for the extinction of this species. It appears that the island has been used for quite some time as a site for fish camps. The temporary structures in which the fishermen clean and gut their catch occupy virtually every cove and are in varying degrees of repair. According to the locals we spoke with, mice used to overrun the camps' and cats were imported in order to reduce the problem... The fishermen also confirmed that ironwood and other island vegetation have been collected for camp fires. The end result was both the expiration of woodrat food resources and the introduction of previously unknown mammalian predators, a combination that has repeatedly proved disastrous for native fauna." (Smith 1993)
Last modified: February 12, 2005;