The thought of rats lurking inside your home is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl. As roof rats travel in search of food and shelter, they may stumble across an opportunity in your home or neighborhood. To avoid roof rats coming inside and getting comfortable, learn more about their habits and how to keep them out of your home.
What Are Roof Rats?
Roof rats can grow up to 10-12 inches and are brown, black, or gray. The distinguishing feature of roof rats compared to other rodents is their hairless and scaly tail which extends the length of their entire body.
Roof rats are both a health and a safety risk to your home and family. These rodents should be removed from homes immediately.
In addition, roof rats can cause severe damage to homes. They are capable of:
- Ruining drywall and insulation
- Chewing through wires which can cause house fires
- Destroying your property and belongings
- Leaving contaminated droppings in your home
- They may die in your walls resulting in a foul odor
Where Do Roof Rats Roam?
Roof rats commonly live in U.S. coastal and port areas. However, inland states and cities can also experience infestations. Memphis, TN and other cities in California, Texas, and Arizona are on the list for the worst communities affected by roof rat activity.
Root rats can enter new regions by trucks, ships, or train. This can explain why Memphis, America’s Distribution Capital, ranks as one of the top cities experiencing roof rat infestations.
How Do Roof Rats Get Inside My Home?
These cratures are always hungry. Neighborhoods are perfect for finding a whole feast of delicacies such as fruits and nuts on the ground or in trees.
While your yard may be clean, your neighbor’s may not be. Roof rats can travel several hundred feet at night in search of food. They could end up in your basement or attic overnight through cracks and crevices in your home.
What Are Common Signs of Roof Rats?
You may have roof rats if you notice these common signs:
- Gnawed materials: They leave gnawing holes about two inches in diameter with rough edges. They prefer wood but can also damage property including electrical wiring and food packaging.
- Urine stains and odors: You’ll likely smell their urine before you see it. Their line of fine urine drops or streaks can only be seen under an ultraviolet flashlight or black light tool.
- Sights and Sounds: Roof rats are nocturnal and live secretly most of the time. If you see them out during the day, you have a serious infestation problem. You may hear sounds such as scratching, gnawing, and digging noises.
- Droppings: Typical roof rat droppings are 1/4-1/2 inch in length and shaped like a capsule with blunt ends. Rat droppings are shiny black and three times the size of mice droppings.
How Can I Get Rid of Roof Rats?
Because they can be carriers of disease, it is recommended to seek the help of professional pest control exterminators. Pest control professionals are experienced with roof rat habits and can take care of the issue safely and effectively.
To keep these rodents out of your house, homeowners should follow these precautions:
- Remove Food/Water Sources: Food and water should be sealed to prevent availability and contamination. Keep dog food sealed in plastic containers overnight.
- Sanitation: Remove clutter from your home, including paper, cardboard, and overgrown vegetation from your yard. Keep areas clean to reduce the opportunity for rats to stay and make a home.
- Seal Gaps: Roof rats only need a ½ inch gap to sneak indoors. Seal any cracks or gaps with caulking or mesh, and repair windows, doors, screens or air vents that aren’t in working order.