Roof Rats: What to Know and What to Do

image of roof rat


Roof rats are also called ship rats or black rats. They get their name from their tendency to find shelter in the upper parts of structures. The roof rat is a thin and long rodent with large eyes and ears. They also have smooth fur and a scaly tail. Often, their undersides are black, white or gray. Adult roof rats can range up to 8” in length. Roof rats are nocturnal creatures. If you do see them during the daytime, it means they are either hunting for food or their nest has been disturbed. Female roof rats can have up to six litters per year with up to eight babies in a litter. That tallies up to 48 roof rats in one year. It really doesn’t take long to wind up with a roof rat infestation.

Roof rats will eat just about anything. However, they prefer berries, fruits, nuts and seeds. They will also feed on snails, slugs and cockroaches. Typically, they feat at dusk and dawn. These rodents are food hoarders and will stash supplies of food.

Signs of an Infestation

There are a few indicators of a roof rat infestation in the home. Whether you see a live one or a dead one, it’s a sign of a problem. Other signs include the presence of droppings. Gnaw marks, rub marks, damaged items and nests are also an indicator of roof rat activity. Other common signs include damaged electrical wires and noise in the house walls or attic. These rodents especially like attics due to their dark and secluded spot. It’s the ideal spot to build a nest and populate.  These rodents can cause some serious damage by chewing through different types of material, including lead pipes and plastic. All of these damages can add up to many dollars in repair.

Tips to Avoid Roof Rat Infestation in a Structure

You should replace loose weather stripping around the basement foundation and windows to prevent rats from entering the structure. All moisture sites should be eliminated. It’s also wise to store firewood at least 20 feet from the structure. All holes in walls and the structure should be repaired, and all food should be sealed up tightly, including pet food. Pick up any fruit on the ground that has fallen from fruit trees. Even a birdbath can attract a roof rat, as it’s a source of water.

What to Do about Roof Rat Infestation

If you see the signs of rodent infestation, don’t let it be. All rodents multiply fast and can spread more than 35 diseases. This can have a profound effect on your health. The best action to take is to call a licensed pest control professional. Your health may depend on it. This person can inspect the home and take the proper course of action. Treatment may vary.

Professional Treatment for Roof Rats: Different Methods

Most professional rodent control companies will use an integrative pest management approach to getting rid of roof fat. The species of the rat must be identified and entry points must be identified before a plan is put in place. Methods may include trapping, habitat modification, trapping or the use of chemicals.

Snap traps are a good way to capture and get rid of roof rats. But, setting up these traps is difficult and it’s best to have an extermination professional do it. Electronic traps are a treatment also. These traps use a voltage shock to kill the rats. A rodenticide may also be used to get rid of roof fats. It’s a poison that mimics food and is used in a bait matrix. It will eventually kill the roof rats. If one of the entry points has to be repaired, it is usually recommended to have trapping devices installed.

It’s important to choose an experienced exterminator if you have a roof rat infestation. It takes an expert to find where they’re hiding, to remove them and to prevent them from coming back. Experienced exterminators use the latest methods for rat removal. In addition, they can help you seal up areas in the roof and walls. With Buzz Tech Rodent Removal, you’ll get peace of mind knowing these creatures will not return after treatment.