I hope this is my last diatribe about these critters, but I did want to share what I have learned.
They have finally left. It is quiet every night. I have cleaned out, again, and found little pieces of foil that they chewed. An ear bud, chewed. The rubber cover on the phone has been chewed through.
Kangaroo rats have long tails and big hind feet with four toes. They have large heads with big eyes and small ears. They are a sandy brown color with a white underbelly.The kangaroo rat is almost perfectly adapted to life in the desert. They can survive without ever drinking any water, getting needed moisture from their seed diet. They have excellent hearing and can even detect the silent sound of an owl approaching. Their large back legs enable them to jump up to 9 feet in one jump in order to escape predators. (Thanks to https://www.desertmuseum.org/)
Pack rats are nest builders. They use plant material such as twigs, sticks, and other available debris. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying—for example, a piece of cactus—and “trade” it for the new item. They can also be quite vocal and boisterous. Getting into everything from attics to car engines, stealing their ‘treasures’, damaging electrical wiring, and creating general noisy havoc can easily cause them to become a nuisance. Offspring are born naked and helpless and must be cared for in nests called middens. Some female pack rats have been known to deliver up to five litters per year with each litter having as many as five young. (thanks to https://citypests.com/how-to-get-rid-of-pack-rats/)
The consensus on all of the websites was to:
#1 get great rat traps.
Got these. They really work. Took me a while to figure them out. I wrecked two before I realized that I needed to be more careful at springing the traps when I pick them up in the morning. I was stomping on them and breaking a small notch that held them open. Also took me a long while to figure out how to bait them without losing a finger nail or two.
#2 get lights.
Both kangaroo rats and pack rats like to hunt at night. These solar beauties throw lots of light under the engine. They are so bright I worry that I am bothering camping neighbors. I gave away two of these to a nearby first time camper who was having rat problems. Two were enough for me, placed under the engine every night.