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Roof Rats

Roof RatDo you have Roof rats in your attic? We know how to get rid of roof rats. First, let’s describe this high climbing and persistent attic dweller. Roof Rats, which are also called ship rats or black rats, have a scientific name of Rattus rattus and they can be black, brown or gray. They have a tail that is longer than their body that is charcoal grey in color, uniform in width and it is prehensile. Roof rats are great at climbing and will gladly move into your attic. Roof rats like buildings, especially living in attics, running along rafters, pipes and electrical wires. Roof rats are neophobic, which means that they are afraid of new things… such as roof rat traps or roof rat poison bait stations. Early sailing ships from East Asia originally brought roof rats to North America, and roof rats have infested every corner of the world.

Getting Rid of Roof Rats Forever

We know how to get rid of roof rats in your attic forever. Repairs must be comprehensive and done with the right materials in order to get roof rats out and keep them out forever. Power lines, tree branches and other attic entry paths should also be addressed when doing a full, proper roof rat exclusion as well as getting rid of the smells that their urine, feces and birthing fluids leave behind. We know what to do!

Roof Rats versus Norway Rats

Roof rats are commonly mistaken for Norway Rats and vice versa. Roof Rats weigh half as much as Norway rats. They can be black, brown or gray whereas a Norway rat is not typically black. A roof rat belly will be a uniform color of all buff, gray or white and a norway rat belly is white with gray under fur. Norway rats prefer lower areas such as burrows, crawl spaces, basements and sewers whereas roof rats prefer higher areas. Norway rats have a tail that is shorter than their body, is tan or pink in color, not prehensile and it is fatter at the tail’s base. The roof rat’s muzzle is skinny, long and pointed whereas the Norway rat’s is more blunt, wide and short. A Norway rat has small ears and a roof rat has larger flimsy ears.

Roof Rat Norway Rat Comparison
Roof Rat comparison chart courtesy of Anne Hanson ©Anne’s Rat Page


Roof rats can be found in the Gulf States, Pacific Coast, Oklahoma, Arkansas and down to the lower half of the East Coast and Hawaiian Islands. They prefer warmer climates.

Roof Rat Reproduction

After 20-24 days of conception, hairless and eyes closed, 5-8 young per litter emerge in the nest. Within one week fur has formed, at 9-14 days their eyes open, they nurse until 4-5 weeks old and are totally on their own at 3 months of age – and ready to breed. Roof rats have the fastest breeding cycle of all rat types. Two roof rats in the attic can quickly become ten.

Roof Rat Feeding Habits

Roof Rats are omnivorous and will consume almost anything and will travel 100 to 300 feet to find it. Chewing on electrical wires is a common practice of these attic dwelling rodents.


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