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What Is a Roof Rat?

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You may have some clues that a pesky critter has moved into your home if you start seeing unusual debris or droppings around the house. One of the most common culprits of home infestation is the roof rat. Our Las Vegas rodent control experts share what you need to know.

What Are the Characteristics of the Roof Rat?

Roof rat sizes vary, but most are medium-sized, growing up to 8.6 inches in length¹. These rats, also called tree rats or palm rats, are part of the Muridae family, and they spend most of their time in trees.

They can move very quickly to escape predators and find food. These rats can be distinguished from other rats by their red fur and uniformly black tail.

Rats can spread bacteria and disease. If you suspect rats in your home, contact our professionals today for a FREE estimate.

6 Reasons Why Roof Rats Get Into Your Home

There are many reasons why these rats might choose your home to infest. Some of these include:

  1. Weather conditions: If there is excessive rain, they may look for a place to stay dry.
  2. Openings in the home: They sneak inside homes through openings, like doors, windows, or construction gaps.
  3. Food and shelter: They look for food and shelter within human-made structures.
  4. Shrubs and trees next to the house: They are attracted to vegetation, like bushes or plants that may bring them near your home.
  5. Hide from predators: Roof rats and Norway rats can seek out a space to hide from predators, like owls, hawks, or domestic cats.
  6. Water: Roof rats are often found near water sources, and homes with leaky pipes or standing water often attract these rodents.

When Are Roof Rats Most Active?

It can be difficult to tell how many rats are in your house because they are nocturnal, and it’s unlikely you’ll see them during the day. They can climb and jump on surfaces², making them fast travelers, even in tight places. Roof rats have sharp night vision, which helps them see even in very dim light. This exceptional night vision makes nighttime ideal for foraging for food in your home.

What Are Signs of a Roof Rat Infestation?

There are many places rat nests can be found. You may discover rats in attics, homes, buildings, and parks. Signs of a rat infestation may include:

1. Leftover Scraps of Food

Roof rats leave scraps or crumbs in various places, including under trees or on shelves. You may also find regurgitated food that will contain a combination of bones and undigested food.

2. Scratching Noises

Roof rats can be distinguished from other rodents thanks to the rat sounds you might hear, such as scratching when moving on floors. This may indicate that you have a rodent infestation in your attic or walls. They are sometimes active during the day but mostly at night and tend to hide in places that are out of the way.

3. Burrows

It is not very common to see roof rats emerge in daylight, so the best way of detecting them is by spotting the caves where they live. The caves are usually made in tree cavities or on the roofs of buildings.

4. Insect Infestation, Like Fleas or Ticks

If you notice any signs of insect infestation along with clues that you have rats, call your pest control company. Roof rats are known to transport ticks and fleas that may cause infections and even disease in humans.

5) Rodent Defecation

Roof rat droppings may be found on any surface where they’ve been active at night. The droppings may contain hair or food remains and pose hazards to your health if they contaminate your food.

Do you suspect an infestation in your home? Contact the experts at Fischer’s Pest Control to get rid of pests quickly and efficiently.

How Do You Get Rid of Rats in Your Home?

People who suspect an infestation should call a pest control service that uses several methods to eliminate these rodents. Knowing how to kill rats in your living space often requires professional help. Here are some steps they may take.

  • Live traps: The first step in eliminating roof rats is finding their main entrances. If you want to get rid of rats in-house fast, trapping the animals is the best way to see where they are coming from and stop them from entering for good. A pest control technician may place traps at night to catch the animals when they are active.
  • Anticoagulants: When the traps are correctly placed, the pest control service will use substances on the traps that provide a lethal dose of anticoagulants to the pest.
  • Rodenticide pellets: Most pest control companies use treated pellets to remove rats from houses quickly. The pellets will be delivered right where the rats are hiding and can be a good way to eliminate house rats effectively.
  • Fumigation: People suffering from a serious roof rat infestation may need to fumigate their house. This method can eliminate rodents for good and is the best way of treating a major problem.
  • Repeat treatments: If the problem is severe and cannot be solved in only one treatment, you should work with your pest control service to repeat it every month for at least a year to control the situation. After doing that, consider preventative services to keep them out for good.

How Does a Professional Rodent Control Company Help With Infestations?

Rodent control technicians have years of education and experience in handling infestations. They can even help you get rid of rats in walls and ceilings. Roof rat infestations are serious problems that can harm the value of your property and create dangerous situations for you and your family.

Contact Fischer’s Pest Control today for a free estimate and let us help you make your home safe and secure.


¹Gillespie, H. House Rat. Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 11 March 2022.

²Marshall, C. Disease Vectors and Pests. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrieved 11 March 2022.

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