Rats are among the most troublesome and costly rodents in the United States. They consume and contaminate food, damage structures and property, and transmit parasites and diseases to humans. The roof rat is no exception.

These furry little pests are not only a nuisance but can also be dangerous. When dealing with a roof rat infestation, it’s important to take action quickly. In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about roof rats, including their habits, how to tell if you have them, and most importantly, how to get rid of them. 

What Does a Roof Rat Look Like?

Roof rats are small rodents, typically black or dark brown. They got their name because they’re often found living in homes in attics and other high places. Roof rats are also called black rats or ship rats. They’re different from Norway rats, which are larger and live at ground level.

Roof rats are good climbers, which is how they enter attics and other high places. They’re also good swimmers, which is why they’re sometimes called ship rats. These creatures are typically about 12 inches long, including their tails.

Roof Rat

Habitat And Diet

Roof rats are found throughout the world in tropical and temperate climates. These rodents are adaptable and can live in various habitats, including forests, grasslands, and even urban areas. They often make their homes in abandoned buildings or the attics of homes.

Roof rats are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Their diet consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and insects. They’re known to eat coconuts, which is how they’ve spread to many island nations.

In urban areas, roof rats often eat garbage and pet food. This can be a problem for homeowners because it attracts them to yards and gardens.

They are nocturnal, meaning they’re most active at night. During the day, they typically sleep in their nests. These nests are usually made out of insulation or other soft materials.

What Are Signs of a Roof Rat Infestation? 

Several signs may indicate a rodent infestation:

Signs of a Roof Rat InfestationExplanation
DroppingsOne of the most obvious signs of rats is the droppings they leave behind. Roof rat droppings are typically dark in color and have a strong, unpleasant odor. They are roughly ½-inch to ¾-inch in length with pointed ends.
Gnawing MarksRats need to gnaw on hard surfaces to keep their teeth from growing too long. As a result, they will often leave behind gnaw marks on wood, plastic, and even metal surfaces.
Footprints and Tail Drag MarksYou may also see footprints or tail drag marks in dusty areas where rats have been active.
BurrowsRoof rats often burrow into the ground to create their nests. These burrows have multiple entrances and are lined with soft materials like shredded paper or cloth.
NestsRoof rats prefer to build nests out of materials like insulation, leaves, and twigs. These nests are usually located in high places, such as attics or trees.
NoisesYou may hear noises coming from roof rats as they move around your home. They are most active at night, so you may hear them scratching or scurrying about during this time.
DamageAs roof rats rummage through your home in search of food, they can cause significant damage. This includes chewing through electrical wires, which can pose a fire hazard.
Food ScrapsRoof rats are attracted to food so you may find their droppings near food sources or in cupboards and pantries.

What Are the Dangers of a Roof Rat Infestation? 

Roof rats pose a serious threat to both your home and your health. Some of the dangers associated with roof rats include:

  • Property Damage: Roof rats are notorious for their chewing habits. They will gnaw on almost anything, including wood, insulation, pipes, and wiring. This can cause serious damage to your home or office.
  • Fire Hazard: As roof rats gnaw on electrical wires, they create a fire hazard. This is one of the most dangerous aspects of having roof rat infestations.
  • Disease: Roof rats are known to carry and transmit several diseases, including bubonic plague, salmonellosis, and leptospirosis. These diseases can be deadly, so it’s important to avoid contact with roof rats.
  • Allergies: Some people are allergic to roof rat dander, which can cause respiratory problems.

If you suspect a roof rat problem, it’s important to take action quickly. These pests reproduce rapidly and can cause a great deal of damage in a short amount of time.

How Do You Get Rid of Roof Rats?

There are a few ways that you can get rid of roof rats. You can use traps or baits or contact a professional to help you remove them.

1. Traps

There are many different types of traps that you can use, such as snap traps or live traps. Snap traps are the most common type of trap used to catch rats. They are easy to set up and use and very effective in catching rats. Live traps are also effective in catching rats. They work by trapping the rat inside the trap so it cannot escape.

2. Baits

Baits are also a very effective way to get rid of roof rats. Rat poison is the most common type of bait used to kill rats. It is important to use rat poison safely and follow the package’s directions carefully. If you use rat poison, place it in an area where children and pets cannot reach it.

3. Contact A Professional

If you want to get rid of roof rats but don’t want to do it yourself, you can contact a professional pest control company like Texas Bug Control. We will be able to help you get rid of the rats quickly and safely.

What is the Difference Between a Rat and a Roof Rat?

Roof rats are one of the types of rats that are commonly found in urban areas. They get their name because they’re good at climbing and often nest in high places, like on roofs.

Two main types of rats are found in the United States: the Norway rat and the roof rat. They can be found in cities, but each has a different preference for where they live.

Also Read: How To Get Rid of Ants in Bathroom?

Are Roof Rats Dangerous And Aggressive?

Roof rats are not typically aggressive but will bite if they feel threatened. They can cause damage to your property as they gnaw on wires and insulation in walls and ceilings. It can create a fire hazard in your home. They also contaminate food and surfaces with their urine and droppings, spreading disease.

If you have a roof rat in your home, it is important to take precautions to avoid being bitten. Wear gloves when handling them and keep them away from your face. If you must remove a roof rat from your home, do so carefully and contact a professional for assistance if necessary.

Also Read: How Do Exterminators Get Rid of Rats In Attic?


Roof rats are clever and persistent pests that can be difficult to control. However, with the right knowledge and strategies, you can get rid of them for good. This guide has provided everything you need to know about roof rats, from their habits and behaviors to the best methods for getting rid of them. Armed with this information, you can keep your home or business free of these pesky critters.

About the author : Shaun W