Damage to Structures
Woodrats are sometimes a nuisance around cabins, outbuildings, and other infrequently used structures or vehicles. As the name “packrat” implies, they have a tendency to pack away small objects such as jewelry, cooking and eating utensils, can tabs, and other items. At times, this behavior can become a nuisance to backpackers and others. More seriously, woodrats may also shred upholstered furniture and mattresses for lining nests, and may take up residence in parked vehicles, gnawing on wires and other mechanical components.
Damage to Landscapes and Crops
Populations generally are fairly dispersed, but economic damage to agricultural crops can occur in limited areas. Agricultural damage results when woodrats clip small twigs and branches, and when they debark citrus and other fruit trees and seedling and sapling conifers, especially redwoods. Loss of trees can occur.
Health and Safety
Woodrats can be an important factor in the transmission of certain diseases, most notably plague, where this disease occurs. Dead or dying woodrats should not be handled.