What are Roof Rats?

Between the Norway rat and the roof rat, the latter is the larger of the two endemic species. Some other names for roof rats include black rats and ship rats. Because it like to live in the lofts of structures, the roof rat was given its moniker. Inside, roof rats will nibble through anything they can get their teeth on, as well as contaminate food supplies and spread disease.

Although their presumed original home was Southeast Asia, roof rats can now be found in virtually every tropical part of the planet. It’s not uncommon to see a rat on your roof if you live in the south, near a port, or a state with

Roof Rats Identification

What Do Roof Rats Look Like?

Long and slender, with huge eyes and ears, a scaly tail, and a pointed nose, roof rats are a type of rodent. Brown with black patches, the fur of a roof rat is normally silky and smooth. They typically have a white, gray, or black underbelly.

When their heads and bodies are considered together, adult roof rats are around 16–20 centimeters long (about 6–8 inches). Their 7-10″ tails are far longer than the rest of their bodies and skulls (19-25 cm). This means that adult roof rats can grow to be over 16 inches in length. They average between 150 and 250 grams (5 to 9 ounces), but can weigh up to 12 ounces (360 g) (340 g).

Signs of an Infestation

There are a number of telltale signs that indicate the presence of a roof rat infestation. The first and most obvious indicator of a roof rat problem is the discovery of a rat or mouse, dead or alive. Droppings are often found around a house that has a roof rat infestation. Roof rat feces that have been around for a while are hard and dry, but feces from newborn rats are soft and moist. The average size of a bird poop is 1/2 inch (12-13 mm) and it typically has a pointy edge. Norway rat feces are larger than those of other rodent species, reaching between 3/4 and 1 inch (18 to 20 mm) in length. The presence of greasy rub marks, gnaw marks, damaged items, nests, or gnawed holes in packaging are all signs of roof rat activity. Damaged electrical cables and squeaky sounds from the attic or walls are other classic indicators of an infestation.

Roof Rats Prevention

How to Get Rid of Roof Rats

Silicone caulk any openings the size of a quarter or larger, and make sure all vents and windows are screened to avoid a roof rat infestation. Keep bushes and trees at a safe distance from the structure, and prune any limbs that are hanging over the top. The rats on the roof will be attracted to any food sources, so make sure to remove any fallen fruit from trees and store waste in sealed containers. Dry foods, including those for pets, should be kept in airtight containers at all times. The same goes for leaking sprinkler heads, pet bowls, and bird baths; get rid of them all.

Contact a registered pest control company to evaluate your property for roof rats and help you create a treatment plan.

What Do Roof Rats Eat?

A roof rat will eat almost anything if given the chance. However, in season, they eat primarily fruits, berries, and seeds. A significant portion of their nutrition will likely come from slugs and snails. Besides mice and other rodents, roof rats will eat insects like cockroaches. Near water, they subsist on fish, shellfish, and whatever else they can catch.

Even though they can be seen foraging at all hours of the night and day, roof rats primarily do so at nightfall and again just before dawn. In example, roof rats have been observed hoarding food, often including nuts and seeds. They like to dine in secret or in a protected space.

Roof Rats Education


Roof rats prefer the nighttime and do best in the cooler months. Up to 10 of them will forage together, and they will always stick to the same route between their nest and their food supply. They are able to reach the higher levels of buildings thanks to their exceptional climbing skills, but they are also able to adapt to and thrive in a wide range of situations.

Roof rats are a type of rodent that commonly lives in colonies and makes its home in the attic or the rafters of a structure. In addition to woodpiles and garbage heaps, they can be discovered beneath and inside of buildings. In spite of their preference for more protected environments, roof rats are drawn to areas with lots of lush flora and fruit trees. Therefore, homes that have plenty of bushes, woodpiles, or containers are more likely to have roof rat problems.

Roof rats will use any opening that is bigger than a nickel to gain entry to human dwellings. Following pipes or nibbling through materials like aluminum siding, drywall, and wood, they gain access to garages, sheds, and homes in search of shelter from predators and places to nest.

Although they only survive for a year, roof rats can have up to 40 offspring.


Colonies of roof rats typically make their homes in the upper stories of structures. Also, they can be discovered below, inside, and all around man-made structures.


By spreading the deadly bubonic plague, roof rats forever cemented their place in history. Even though the number of new cases in the United States each year is low, transmission is still possible. As a result of their fleas, roof rats can spread typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever, trichinosis, and salmonellosis to humans and other animals. Food poisoning can also result from contamination by these rodents of either food or food processing areas.

Threatened roof rats may become aggressive, as is the case with many other rodent species. They may resort to biting or chasing if threatened. The bite or scrape of a roof rat can spread a variety of diseases, including rat-bite fever. Rat-bite fever causes nausea, dizziness, vomiting, fever, and aches and pains in the muscles and joints. To read more about the dangers that rats, such as the roof rat, pose to human health, click here.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to pest control, many people believe it is best to wait until there is a problem before taking action. At this stage, exterminating bugs may be both expensive and inconvenient for you. Because of the savings you’ll save on future treatments as well as the assurance that your house is bug-free, preventive pest control is an excellent investment.

It is common for pest control treatments to include a wide range of products. In order to provide you with the best possible solution, an expert will perform an in-depth assessment of your house. Conventional pesticide treatments are often used in pest management, depending on the specifics of your circumstance.

We recommend contacting our office to get a quote for your specific pest control requirements since the level of infestation and the surrounding environment affect the price.

On Demand does NOT charge for inspections. Our objective is to provide each customer with a personalized strategy. We know where to look for certain types of bugs, and we will perform a full inspection to find them. Additionally, we will also check for any other type of pest that may have made their way into your home. Each strategy takes into account the specifics of the property, issue, and the surrounding area. You may request an inspection by contacting (954) 947-0805.

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