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Roof Rats

roof rat imageRoof Rats

Facts Identification & Control

Latin Name

Rattus rattus

Appearance

They are either black or brown in color and can measure over 40 cm in length. Their tail is long, presence of large eyes and ears and a pointed nose. Has a smaller body size than the Norway rats and a smooth fur.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

They build their nest inside or beneath buildings or in piles of wood. They are very good at climbing and are found mostly in the upper part of a structure. Roof rats do not have difficulty adapting. High places are their preferred choice of habitat but can live in different places. Roof rats are nocturnal animals as well as excellent climbers. According to their name, roof rats are found in high places like roofs, attics, trees and rafters. They can as well nest on the ground if need be.

Roof rats tend to create a hierarchy when their population is high, whereby the dominant male has the privilege to mate more frequently than other males.

They are sometimes referred to as “fruit rat” or “citrus rat” due to their preference for fruit and nuts; however they are omnivorous and can feed on any edible substance. They can eat up tree bark, meat and grain. They are as well-known as food hoarders as they tend to pile up food like nuts and seeds.

Reproduction

Attains sexually maturity between 2-5 months and produces about 4-6 litters in year which contains 6-8 young per litter. Has a lifespan of one year.

Roof rats have the ability to reproduce at any time of the year. A single female can produce up to 40 young in just a year.

Signs of Roof Rat Infestation

Sighting of the rodent or presence of carcass is a sign of infestation. Sighting a rodent could mean congestion of hiding place or external disturbance like construction. Another indicator of rat infestation is their droppings. Droppings of roof rat measures 12 to 13 mm with pointed ends while that of Norway rat is 18 to 20 mm with a capsule shape. Nesting and grease mark are other indication of rat activity. While rats move along the edge the oil in the fur produce grease mark. A place such as attics is the most common site for indoor nest.

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Disease – roof rats are disease carriers. These diseases can be transmitted to others through bites, contact, contamination or through the fleas present on the animal.

Humans have been affected by plagues from infected fleas on rodents. In the past, Europe suffered from Bubonic plague continuously. Presently, the United States and other part of the world still suffer from various plagues. An undercooked meat which fed on rats can be a source of Trichinosis if eaten. Food poisoning can be gotten from food preparation surfaces or contaminated food. Bite fever can also be gotten through the presence of bacteria in the mouth of the rat.

Inhalation of rodent saliva, urine or dropping can be a source of contacting Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. It is advisable to be careful when dealing with rats although they have not yet been link to HPS. Reach out to a pest management expert when the need arises.

Infestations

Identification of the rodent is the first step to be taken in order to control roof rat infestation. The tails of roof rats are hairless and longer than their body. They are good at climbing and are nocturnal in nature.

Screen all the vents and windows in your home to prevent their infestation. Also seal up every entry hole in walls, roof or eaves. Lastly, mow the grasses and trim the branches of trees around.