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What Does a Roof Rat Look Like

By July 18, 2022April 13th, 2024Pest control
Roof rat

Rats are not pests that we can try to live with. They are pests that will cause destruction. There are all different species of rats and one of them is the roof rat. Roof rats only live up to one year but can produce up to 40 offspring! What does a roof rat look like? They are long and thin, have large ears and eyes, a tail, as well as a nose that is pointed. Their fur is brown with black spots and soft. Their bellyside is usually gray, white or black.

Let’s take a look at the roof rat so you can identify one if you see it.

What is a Roof Rat

There are two commensal rats, the roof rat and the Norway rat. The Norway rat is the bigger one of the two. Another name for roof rats are ship rats or black rats. Also, the name gives away the place this rat likes to go – into the upper parts of buildings. Unfortunately, once they are inside the building, they gnaw through materials, but also spread diseases. In addition, they contaminate food that is stored in the home. Lastly, found worldwide, they are most common in tropical areas, states that are on the coast, and the southern part of the U.S.

Roof rat in a building.

What Roof Rats Prefer

Nocturnal rodents, they like cooler weather. They can survive in various environments and like to make the same path between their food and next. Also, with an excellent ability to climb, they can get up to the top of structures easily. They really like attics and rafters in homes. Roof rats also prefer habitats that are sheltered, covered, and lush landscapes. Additionally, they also like food sources of fruit trees, and dense vegetation. If you have property that has woodpiles, storage boxes, or heavy shrubs, you may be more likely to have an infestation of roof rats.

Roof Rat Description and Signs of Infestations

As mentioned above, they have a scaly tail, large eyes and ears, pointed nose, and are long and lean. Adult roof rats can grow to six to eight inches in length, and their tail is longer than the head and body.

Here are some signs of a roof rat infestation:

  1. Spotting a dead or alive rat
  2. Rat droppings in the home. Fresh droppings are moist, while older droppings are dried and hard. They measure ½” (12-13 mm) and the ends are pointed.
  3. Gnaw marks, goods that are damaged, rub marks that are greasy, or a nest indicate that there are rats in the home.
  4. Listening to the walls and hearing rustling sounds or seeing electrical wires that have damage are indicators of a pest infestation.

How to Get Rid of Roof Rats

  1. Seal up entry points, holes or cracks that are bigger than a quarter with silicone caulk.
  2. Check all windows and vents have screens
  3. Tree branches and shrubs should be cut back from the building and not hang over the roof
  4. If you have fruit trees, clean up an fruit that has fallen
  5. Cover garbage cans tightly and store pet food in containers that are sealed
  6. Get rid of water sources. This includes fixing sprinkler heads that leak, birdbaths, and pet dishes

Here is a video below about roof rats.

How Much Does It Cost

Getting rid of rats isn’t something you should do on your own. Hiring a pest control service to take care of it for you is the way to go. It can cost between $1000-$8000 depending on the size of the home and how bad the infestation is.

Recommended Maintenance

Roof rat in a home or attic.

Now that you know about roof rats, here is some other recommended maintenance.

One of the things you can do is also check your walls. If you have rats in the walls, you will want to make sure you keep the yard in good condition, seal the home, and dispose of all garbage to name a few.

Next, we know already that rodents show a sign that they are in the home by chewing on wires. They do this because they like the rubber coating because it is soft and helps them make their teeth stronger. Unfortunately, they also destroy things in your home by doing this.

Lastly, mosquitos can be annoying. If you are looking for natural solutions for mosquito control, here are a few things you can do. Get rid of standing water, buy plants that are natural repellents, install fans, invite bats, or use an eco-friendly mosquito control solution.

When to Call a Professional

Call a professional when you have a roof rat problem in the home. This is not something you want to take care of alone nor do you have the expertise. A professional pest control company can take a look and figure out the best plan for you to exclude rodents from your home.


If you take a look around the home to make sure there are no entry points or food and water sources, you can help prevent roof rats from coming into the home. As mentioned above, you can do a few things to keep roof rats away like cutting back trees and shrubs, covering food sources, and cleaning up any fruit that has fallen on the ground.

If you have a roof rat problem and want to keep them away hire a pest control company. You can assist your pest control company. Call Honor Services to assist you with some pest control recommendations while conducting a thorough pest inspection in Melbourne, FL, and surrounding areas.


Michelle Shishilla

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