Adorable and Threatened: ‘Species of Concern’ Spotted on Trail Cam

Blink and you might miss it. Officials from West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest shared rare trail cam footage of a “species of concern”—the Allegheny woodrat.

Allegheny woodrats are a small rodents that are about the size of a squirrel. According to the National Park Service (NPS), they live in “rock outcrops, boulder fields, abandoned mine portals, talus slopes, and caves from southern New York to Tennessee.”

A recent trail cam video shows an Allegheny woodrat scurrying across the field of view. It sniffs at a tree and goes about its woodrat business as its eyes reflect light back at the camera.

In an edited Facebook post, the Monongahela National Forest says the animal is “a Regional Forester’s Sensitive Species” and not “federally threatened” as its original post stated. Either way, NPS says it is a species of concern in West Virginia. Factors that have led to the species’ decline include “food shortages, increases in predator populations, raccoon roundworm, and general human encroachment.”

Watch the “species of concern” trail cam footage here:

These little woodrats are “fearful, yet curious” and don’t seem to have an aggressive bone in their bodies. NPS says they rarely act aggressively when captured, and they’ll even hang around researchers after they’re released.

Here’s a video from NPS to learn more about this species: