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Roof Rats

Appearance and Size Facts

  • Roof rats are brown or black-gray in color, with a white-gray or black underside
  • Their tail is scaly and naked, and is always longer than the head and the body combined
  • Smooth fur
  • Size: Approximately 13-inches in length including the tail
  • They are slightly smaller than Norway rats and weigh roughly 8 ounces
  • Excellent climbers and it is common to see grease and dirt marks along their travel paths

Behavior and Habitat of Roof Rats

Roof rats will eat almost anything, but they prefer fruit, vegetables, and cereal products. Contrary to mice, rats need a free-standing water source in order to survive, as they do not get the moisture needed from their food source alone. Roof rats eat a lot at one time, and will return to that place time after time for food. It is common to see grease and dirt marks along their travel paths. They are excellent climbers. Roof rats nest within structures in high places, but sometimes in sewers or under buildings. Outdoors, Roof rats nest in high places (such as trees) as well, but sometimes they burrow under plants.

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Signs of Infestation of Roof Rats

Look for droppings and grease marks along surfaces, as well as nests.

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Tips for Prevention of Roof Rats

Seal up any holes or cracks larger than 1/2" with silicone caulk, wire mesh, steel wool, cement, or foam. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from the building and cut back limbs overhanging the roof. Additionally, clean up fruit that may fall from trees in the yard and keep garbage in tightly covered receptacles.

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Roof Rat Gallery

Photograph of roof rat

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