Tracie L. Rodgers Children's Book Author and Lover of Wildlife

A Special Surprise


Over this past year, I like to reflect on all the wonderful moments with nature and our backyard wildlife. I have met so many new wildlife friends that have visited our yard. The little packrat in particular is a special surprise.

A pack rat or packrat, also called a woodrat, can be any of the species in the rodent genus Neotoma.

I strive to appreciate all living creatures on this earth. This is Macie. She is simply pure cuteness.

These little cuties started visiting our yard and would be visible for me to take a few pictures. Well, of course I had to start naming the rats as I got to know them. Macie has a sweet personality and does not mind me being around her. She would hide in one of the bushes and then when I came outside to feed the birds she made an effort for me to notice her by running in front of me. It was so cute. Look at those precious eyes. I can see such innocence, joy, purity, and purpose. I also named some of the other packrat family members, Boo, Buddy and Moser.

Some of you may think and only see them as unwanted guests, possibly chewing on your house and being destructive. I can understand. You definitely want to prevent them from getting in your attic and/or garage. There are humane ways to prevent that.

When they were making their presence known for me, I personally wanted to take a moment to find the beauty and purpose of these precious creatures. They are so smart and they absolutely live up to their name “packrat”. They will find things in your yard that you are not using and utilize it for themselves. They love to hoard and build their houses to support raising their family.

Well, this past year they decided to utilize our grill for their home. We had not used our grill for awhile with all what was going on in our lives at the time.  My mother-in-love was very ill the past couple of years and passed away in March 2018.

When I discovered what was going on, they had already built this massive fortress in our grill and actually were using it for having their babies. I didn’t have the heart to evict them and the tiny babies so we decided to let them finish out their baby cycle, only to find out they have several litters back-to-back. It was challenging to find that perfect time to humanely move them out.

I took this time to observe their behavior and witness them raise their babies. It is truly a miracle of life to see these tiny baby rats nursing and their little tummies full of milk. They grow up from their eyes completely closed to wide open. From no hair on their bodies to hair that gives them uniqueness. Being an eyewitness to this beautiful miracle of life was actually therapeutic for me during this season of loss and grief. It has been so hard to lose immediate family members back-to-back and I felt exhausted and weary from losing loved ones.

Throughout this amazing process I did consult with a wildlife rehab expert for wisdom and humane methods to help them move out of the grill with ease and when they were done raising their families. The most successful and humane method was recommended by Animal Help Now. It was Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent. Very effective, easy and safe.

Once everyone had moved out, unfortunately, the grill was no longer usable. Some of you may think this is all silly…I feel honored we helped these packrats for a season. And I’m so grateful I took the time to truly appreciate their purpose here on earth. Life is so precious.

Stay tuned as I plan to feature these precious creatures in my future children’s books.

I love the quote from Edward O. Wilson… “Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.”

And that includes packrats! 🙂

That is KAPOW! Tracie

About the author


Tracie L. Rodgers lives in North Texas with her husband, Jeff. Her passion is writing children’s books and sharing her love of nature and wildlife with the world.

By Tracie
Tracie L. Rodgers Children's Book Author and Lover of Wildlife