The eastern woodrat (Neotoma floridana) occurs throughout eastern and central parts of the United States. In Nebraska, 3 of 9 subspecies inhabit the state, including N. f. campestris, N. f. attwateri, and N. f. baileyi. We determined distributional limits of N. f. campestris along 2 river systems in southern Nebraska. As observed with other mammalian species in the Great Plains, we suspected that the distribution of woodrats likely had expanded, reflecting continued regulation of rivers and the concomitant increase in forests along them. We documented N. f. campestris at 7 sites in 5 counties, including a recent (since the 1960s) eastward expansion along the Republican River. We observed little movement along the Platte River. The greatest concentration of houses constructed by woodrats occurred in a shelterbelt near the Republican River; otherwise, abundances of houses tended to be greater along the Platte River. We suspect that the distribution of woodrats will continue to change in Nebraska unless breaks exist or are established in riparian forests along the Platte and Republican rivers.
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Vol. 69 • No. 2