Wild Brown rat with nut

Tales of Messy Jessie: The slightly less annoying packrat

When I was a kid, my sister’s nickname was packrat. Her real name is Jessica, but we also always called her Messy Jessie. She would ferret everything away and pack it either under her bed or in her closet. I remember my dad yelling at her because my mom was putting away her laundry and found a half-eaten PB&J in her sock drawer. We never knew why she was such a packrat, but as a big brother, it was always hilarious to me.
Although residents of central Arizona are safe from the destructive habits of Messy Jessie the Alabama Packrat, there is a more sinister rodent bearing a similar name.
The Bushy-Tailed Packrat makes its home in Central Arizona. While much cuter than Messy Jessie, (Think Pippy Longstockings with a jelly smeared face) it is a thousand times more destructive to homes, although my dad probably wouldn’t agree after Messy Jessie got her license and took out a bank of mailboxes and the support beams to the deck of a house due to texting and driving.

Black rat, Rattus rattus, in front of white background
Packrats are nest builders. They make nests out of pieces of plant material such as twigs, sticks, and other available materials. Although they love vegetation, they are enamored with shiny things. They are also known to be rowdy loudmouths too. They are mainly considered pests because they have boundary issues. These critters get into attics, car engines all the while they damage electrical wiring and appliances. They are expert thieves. One lady who wished to remain unnamed in the Prescott area recounts one day when she sent her husband into the attic to bring down Christmas ornaments to find that half of them were gone. The couple was heartbroken and luckily had mentioned the disappearance of the ornaments to a relative who had extensive experience with packrats. The couple called a technician to come to assess the situation and found a packrat nest also known as a Midden. Fortunately, the technician was able to recover and wash some of the ornaments and a few family photos that had been swiped as well. Unfortunately, the packrat destroyed most of the stolen property.
The old-timers have another name for packrats. They call them Trade Rats because of a unique and defining characteristic. They love to trade items for things they are fond of. If they are carrying something and see something more appealing like a keychain or other shiny object, they will drop what they are carrying and trade it for the more desirable item and run off with it.

There are hundreds of stories in the Prescott, Dewey, and Payson areas of the destructive, nasty, thieving critters. Just ask around, it seems that every homeowner has experienced the horror story or knows first hand about the destruction these animals can do.
Luckily, Friendly Pest Control technicians have ways to deal with these problem squatters 

1. You physically see the packrat.
2. You find fecal pellet droppings in the attic or other less-trafficked parts of your house.
3. You find or experience damage to wires and plastic housings for electrical boxes.
4. You find chewed wood on your property or in your home. This can be wood dragged in for nesting purposes or they can literally chew the wood from door frames and such.
5. Don’t worry. You don’t have ghosts. The noises coming from your attic vents, walls or crawl spaces are most likely pack rats. Before you call the Ghostbusters, call Friendly Pest Control — 928-267-0728
6. Footprints in and around the home. A lot of people mistake these footprints in sand or dirt for raccoons or possums. Regardless, you should ask a professional.
7. Trust your pet’s instincts. Our pets can sense when things are nearby. Just like they can warn you of incoming calamities like earthquakes or seizures, pets can often smell, hear, see pests like packrats way before we do. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t be scared to call a Friendly Technician if you think you have a problem. Even if you don’t, but you want a preventative maintenance regimen, they can guide you to
what is right for your home.

For more information about Friendly Pest Control services, products or personnel, call Friendly Pest Control at (928) 363-4232

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