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Roof Rat Identification Guide

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What is a roof rat? 

A rodent species widely distributed across the United States, roof rats often end up in our yards, homes, and other structures. These rodents live in exceptionally large numbers in coastal and tropical regions, thriving in the wet, humid environment they provide. They got their name because they prefer to nest up high in structures and are common on roofs, in attics, and the upper levels of a building.

Roof rats have a thin, light body that allows them to be very agile and good climbers. Smooth dark brown or black fur covers their body, with light color fur covering their underbelly. From nose to tail, adults grow to between 12 and 16 inches in length. Their scaly tail is longer than their body, and they have large ears and a pointed nose.

roof rat in shed

Are roof rats dangerous?

Like other rodents, roof rats are unwanted because of their ability to spread diseases and damage both structures and personal property.

Roof rats carry a variety of bacteria and parasites on their bodies that can contaminate any structure they enter. As they forage for food, roof rats leave trails of urine and excrement on surfaces and chew their way into food containers, contaminating the food and rendering it inedible. Diseases spread by roof rats include rat-bite fever, salmonellosis, leptospirosis, and murine typhus.

Inside our homes, roof rats use their teeth to chew on and damage wires, drywall, pipes, furniture, wall and door trim, flooring, clothing, and shoes. Roof rats are damaging pests and are unwelcome on our properties. 

Why do I have a roof rat problem?

If roof rats are on your property because it offers them access to food and shelter, they won’t hesitate to take advantage of entry points leading into your house. Roof rats move indoors to build a nest in a safe area or to escape harsh weather conditions. They are exceptional climbers, so they often find a way into homes through spaces along the roofline, gaps around chimneys or roof intersections, or utilities entering your home. They also won’t hesitate to use their chisel-like teeth to create an opening in a structure.

Where will I find roof rats?

Roof rats can become a problem in your indoor or outdoor spaces all year long; they do not hibernate and hoard food to keep them well fed throughout the year. 
 
Inside, roof rats prefer to nest in the upper levels of structures. Attics, walls voids, and spaces above cabinets are often home to roof rats. In garages and barns, they live in the rafters. 
 
When roof rats live outside, they like to nest in piles of garbage, woodpiles, thick shrubbery, on buildings, and off the ground in trees. 

How do I get rid of roof rats?

Get rid of roof rats from your Greater Houston area property with the help of TNT Home & Commercial Pest Services. Our professionals understand how difficult it is to prevent roof rats and how frustrating it is to remove them from your home. We want to help you maintain a home or business that is free of roof rats. With over 20 years of experience in the pest control industry, exceptional services, and focusing on customer satisfaction, you can trust us with your pest control needs! If you would like to learn more about our , reach out to TNT Home & Commercial Services today. 

How can I prevent roof rats in the future?

More than an inconvenience, pests can be dangerous and cause a lot of damage. In addition to our professional pest control services, use the following tips to keep roof rats out of your yard and home:

  • Cut tree branches and shrubbery back away from your roof.

  • Remove brush piles, woodpiles, and other debris from your yard that is unnecessary and will only give roof rats and other pests a place to hide.

  • Repair holes along the roofline and fix loose or missing shingles or siding.

  • Repair any loose screens or screens with holes.

  • Vents should have covers placed on them.

  • Make sure to keep lids on trash cans and compost bins to keep roof rats from foraging for food in them.

  • Roof rats love to climb fruit trees, so regularly harvest fruits to make fruit trees on your property less attractive to these hungry rodents.

 

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