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Roof Rat Facts & Information

Roof rat illustration
Rattus rattus
40 cm or more
Black or brown
Large ears & eyes
Smooth fur with hairless, scaly tail
Pointed nose


How do I get rid of roof rats?

What You Can Do

Here’s how homeowners can help prevent roof rat infestations:

  • Block Entryways: To prevent a roof rats from nesting in your home, make sure that all windows and vents are screened.

  • Trim Trees: These rodents can get to the roof from the branches of trees. Trim all tree branches to further prevent entry.

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin Pro is trained to help manage roof rats and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin Pro will design a unique rodent treatment program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep roof rats in their place and out of your home or business.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Roof Rats

What do roof rats look like?

  • Size: These rats can be over 40 cm long. They are smaller and sleeker than Norway rats.

  • Color: Roof rats can be black or brown.

  • Characteristics: These rodents have long tails, large ears and eyes, and pointed noses. They have smooth fur with hairless, scaly tails that are longer than their heads and bodies.

What do roof rats look eat?

Roof rats are food hoarders, stashing supplies of food such as seeds and nuts. These rodents prefer to consume fruits (sometimes referred to as the “fruit rat” or “citrus rat”) and nuts, although roof rats are omnivorous and will feed on almost anything available to them. These rodents consume:

  • Fruits

  • Grains

  • Meats

  • Nuts

  • Tree bark

  • Seeds

Where do roof rats live?

Roof rats are highly adaptable. They are nocturnal by nature and are accomplished climbers. As far as states go, roof rats, also known as palm rats, are commonly found in tropical environments like Florida. They prefer to live in high places but may live in a variety of environments if necessary. Roof rat nests can be found in:

  • Attics

  • Buildings

  • Garage storage spaces

  • Piles of rubbish or wood

  • Rafters

  • Roofs

  • Trees

  • Wall voids

Roof Rat Life Cycle

Roof rats become sexually mature between two and five months, producing four to six litters per year that consist of six to eight young each. The common lifespan of these rodents is about one year.

In dense populations, these rodents will establish a social hierarchy, wherein dominant males mate more than subordinate males. These rats are prodigious breeders and can breed year-round. Within a year, one female may be responsible for up to 40 new rodents.

More Information

Roof Rat Bait

Where Do Roof Rats Live?

Diseases Carried by Rats and Mice

Orkin Pest Control - 2:48

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