The rodent you are describing could be a Woodrat (Neotoma floridana). They basically look like giant Deer Mice, but are often grayish rather than brownish. Definitely have a white belly though. They're almost cute.
On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 3:57 PM, d7432da <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This could well be the same. The one I caught wasn't so brown, but the size and general shape is right. Wish I could see the belly. The one I caught was completely white underneath. They would have plenty of cover in the river bottom below the house, especially along the river bank and a major tributary gully directly at the bottom of my yard. I'm forever cleaning brush, but it's all done by hand. More than one or two lifetimes of work. My observation of damage being less to non-existent when fall conditions contribute to having green winter vegetation is probably my best hope. None of that this year, for sure.