Roof Rat

Roof rats are a smaller, more agile rat than the Norway rat (an adult will often weigh in at about half a pound). Roof rats will boast a longer tail, with a pointy snout and longer ears than the Norway rat. In appearance, roof rats are lighter in color (usually a light gray).

While roof rats are also scavengers by nature, they tend to be a little pickier about what they will eat. Some of their favorite foods include seeds, nuts, vegetables, fruits, insects, invertebrates, and other inorganic matter like soap and paper. Roof rats are also a nocturnal species, which is why they are often not seen by homeowners during the day. They will also nest in higher areas, such as trees or attic spaces.

Categories: ,

Roof Rat Habits

Roof rats are often confused for Norway rats, but they are typically much smaller in size. As their name implies, roof rats tend to find shelter higher up in buildings and on roofs. They are found worldwide and cause homeowners around the country a lot of grief each year. Unlike Norway rats, roof rats have large features, a pointed nose, and a scaly tail. They are omnivorous and will eat just about anything they can get access to. That said, they prefer to feed on seeds, nuts, fruits, slugs, snails, cockroaches, and other insects. For the most part, roof rats are nocturnal and prefer cool weather. Because they live in colonies, roof rats tend to be social and will hunt in groups at night.

Rodent Damage

Rodents can be vectors for various diseases and bacteria. Rats were historically the carriers for the Bubonic plague, and have been responsible for millions of deaths worldwide. Rats are especially problematic as carriers of disease because they so often attempt to live as close to humans as possible (our food and garbage/waste provide a major source of food and harborage for rodent populations).

Rodents can also cause more basic damage in a variety of ways. They can contaminate our attics and crawl spaces with their droppings and urine; they can chew through the expandable foam, electrical wires, and even the wood inside of our homes; they can destroy our gardens and eat our food; and perhaps most damaging, they can destroy our peace of mind and sense of security when we hear them inside of our homes and places of business.

Rodent Control

Rodents are not a simple pest to eradicate from a structure; they are intelligent creatures with an imperative to survive at any cost. Comprehensive rodent control should consist of four steps:

  1. Inspection. A thorough inspection is absolutely imperative to effective rodent control. The most important consideration in a rodent inspection is to identify all access points that rodents are using to gain access to the structure(s). Without a thorough understanding of how the rodents are entering and/or exiting the structure, effective control is nearly impossible.
  2. Exclusion. Once the access points have been identified, structural improvements must be made to correct the gaps or holes. These repairs can range from the simple to the complex and should be checked regularly as they will often break down with time and/or increased rodent pressure. Exclusion should be performed by a trained professional with the most appropriate material(s) for the situation. Our service technicians bring their expertise and their knowledge of rodent behaviors, which is the ideal combination for effective rodent exclusion.
  3. Trapping. Once access areas have been excluded, rodents will become increasingly desperate and trapping will become much more effective. While trapping can be employed before exclusion work has been performed, the results are often spotty and inconclusive (adults and more experienced rodents can have a tendency to become “trap-shy” and avoid new items placed into their environment). Once exclusion work has been performed, previous access to food and water has now been taken away and traps become much more appealing to the rodents.
  4. Exterior baiting. Once rodents have been excluded from the structure and all rodents on the inside have been trapped and disposed of, your best tool is population control. An effective baiting program will reduce rodent populations on the outside of the structure(s), thereby reducing the risk of re-infestation. Rodents will always be prevalent in the Southwest; with an effective baiting program (with frequent re-inspection), you can ensure that your home will be protected from rodent entry.