Otherwise known as the white-throated woodrat, the packrat is a medium sized rodent which can weigh upwards of 1 pound. The packrat has big ears, big eyes, and a short tail. The hair on the packrat’s throat is completely white, while the rest of the body is covered in a dark gray fur. The packrat can be found all throughout Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where it prefers to live on the desert floors or up on the rocky slopes of the mountains. Packrats are not able to regulate their own body heat, and rely on the heat of the sun and the coolness of the earth to maintain a normal body temperature.
Packrats will live mostly on a diet of mesquite beans, palo verde seeds, green plants, and cactus, preferring prickly pears and chollas. These plants not only provide food, but also provide almost all the water that is needed to survive. Occasionally, packrats have been seen eating insects or other meat. Packrats usually gather their food at night, eating food and carrying some back to either store for later use, or use the food to further build the den.