The Distribution, Status, and Ecology of the Eastern Woodrat (Neotoma Floridana) in Missouri

Date of Graduation

Summer 1998


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Lynn Robbins


Woodrats in the eastern United States have experienced a dramatic reduction in range and population numbers in recent years. Because of this, and the fact that the Missouri Department of Conservation has the status of the eastern woodrat, Neotoma floridana, as "status undetermined," this study was conducted to collect information on the eastern woodrat in Missouri. A distribution map was developed from two sources: 1) surveys sent to individuals that had knowledge of woodrat occurrence, or 2) manually searching of areas. In addition, the home range and activity patterns of the eastern woodrat were determined on Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area in Taney County and on private land in Christian County. Of the areas that contained woodrats (N=159), the dominant habitat types were cave (51.57%), forest with exposed rock (17.61%), and both edge and forest habitats (8.81%). Home ranges were determined using the fluorescent pigment method. The home range of males ranged from 500-8500 m², while females ranged from 1000-3000 m². Remote censusing cameras were used to document the activity patterns of the eastern woodrat. The woodrat was the most common of the 31 species of animals photographed (40.44% of the total pictures). The activity of the woodrat exhibited a peak before midnight with a decrease in activity throughout the rest of the night. Although woodrats are not in immediate need of protection, the regular monitoring of the status of woodrats in Missouri should be implemented because of habitat loss.

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© Eric R Britzke