matrilineal wood rats and the houses they live in
October 28, 2008
Third in a series of things I learned today.
This is a wood rat midden that I saw at Jasper Ridge.
The grandma rat owns the house, and her daughters live in various parts of it. There are accessory houses nearby with walkways connecting them.
Sometimes the researchers need to work where the nests are, so they will either move the whole nest, making sure to keep a walkway connecting it, or at least leave the sticks around for the rats to reconstruct it. The rats can reconstruct them easily; apparently the bottleneck for them is actually finding the twigs.
Some of these houses are 30 years old.