Key Largo woodrat

Neotoma floridana smalli

Photo: USFWS

Overall vulnerability:

High to Very High
lower vulnerability
higher vulnerability

Conservation status:

Federally Endangered

General Information

This midsized rodent can reach a body length of up to 16 inches. Key Largo woodrats have brown-black backs with reddish undertones on the sides and short tails relative to their body size. Endemic to Key Largo, Florida, this woodrat forages for a diet of mushrooms, berries, seeds and leaves and builds stick nests at the base of trees or stumps. Key Largo woodrats nest throughout the year with a peak season in the winter.

Habitat Requirements

The Key Largo woodrat inhabits tropical hardwood hammock habitats within its small geographic range.


Climate Impacts

The Key Largo woodrat is highly susceptible to sea level rise. Additionally, this species faces many of the same existing threats common to coastal or island species: habitat loss and degradation from coastal development, barriers to migration, habitat disturbance from recreational use and high mortality from non-native predators. Competition with black rats is also a serious current threat to this species with the potential to worsen under climate change.

More information about general climate impacts to species in Florida.

Vulnerability Assessment(s)

The overall vulnerability level was based on the following assessment(s):

Adaptation Strategies

  • Conservation of existing habitat will allow the Key Largo woodrat the best chance of recovering and maintaining a healthy population as climate change begins to accelerate. This includes controlling existing stressors, such as reducing populations of non-native predators.
  • As sea level rise may eventually become too great a threat for the Key Largo woodrat in its current habitat, developing and maintaining a captive breeding population is a strategy to consider for this endemic subspecies.

More information about adaptation strategies.

Additional Resources