The Neotoma Fuscipes which lives in the mountains of California has a reproductive lifestyle very different than ours. The differences lie within the mating patterns, their breeding seasons, and habits once the female becomes pregnant. This wood rat which is most commonly believed to be monogamous are in fact not exclusively monogamous but are also promiscuous when beneficial to their fitness.
    The mating patterns of the wood rat are different than ours in the fact that they are more commonly promiscuous. Promiscuity is defined as members of both sex nonexclusively with many partners during the breeding season without creating bonds (M.B. McEachern, et. al. 2009). Both males and females are promiscuous Photo of dusky footed wood rat burried in a rock.females only mate with the males within a certain range from their homes (M.B. McEachern, et. al., 2009). M.B. McEachern and his colleges also found that even though most of the species are promiscuous about half the females are monogamous, this was more common in area of juniper woodland. The males were monogamous about forty-three percent of the time, monogamy was more common in area of coniferous forest (M.B. McEachern, et. al. 2009). To learn more about the interactions between the males and females visit follow this link. These patterns can only happen during certain breeding seasons.
    The breeding season is a very important aspect of the wood rats life, without it they would not survive. The season last from mid-September till mid-July, this breeding season coincides with the rainy season due to for availability increasing reproductive fitness (Wallen 1982). As a result of the breeding season and the size of a wood rat community not all of the males will reach full sexual maturity or even physical size (Neotoma fuscipes: dusky footed wood rat). As a result of the stunting of some males sexual maturity there are two forms of male testes, this includes scrotal testes which are meant for mating and abdominal testes which are not meant for mating (Wallen 1982).To learn more about the wood rats average size visit the form and function page. Once mating has occurred the interactions between males and females change drastically.
    This drastic change is a result to the females becoming pregnant and their journey toward raising their young. Once a female becomes pregnant she will become intolerant toward the male, she will also be intolerant toward other males (Neotoma fuscipes: dusky footed wood rat). According to the article Neotoma fuscipes dusky footed wood rat the females are highly intolerant that they can become violent with the males. Due to the intolerance of the females males do not provide any parental care (M.B. McEachern, et. al. 2009). The females can give birth to anywhere from one to four young (Dusky Footed Wood Rat). The young will be weaned of their mother’s milk and begin eating vegetation at about three weeks (Neotoma fuscipes: dusky footed wood rat).


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Gabriella Tuminello and Emma Conway of the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. Bio 203 - Spring 2014