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Roof Rat

Danger/Damage

Similar to the Norway rat, roof rats can transmit a number of diseases to humans. Hazardous diseases include murine typhus, leptospirosis, salmonella and rat-bite fever. Roof rats are also capable of transmitting diseases to pets.


Did you know?

Smaller, sleeker and slimmer than the Norway rat, roof rats nest in high areas such trees, tall shrubs, or high vegetation such as ivy. As such, they are excellent climbers and can enter properties through running along tree branches, cables or wires.


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Roof rats weigh about 150-250 grams. and measure between 35-45 cm in length from head to tail. The colour of the fur is grayish black to a solid black and the belly varies from and off-white to all grey. Roof rats have long slender bodies with large ears and a long hairless tail. Unlike Norway rats, their tails are longer than their head and body combined.


Roof rats are said to have originated from Southeast Asia but are now found worldwide especially in coastal areas and ports.

Roof rats are omnivorous preferring seeds, nuts, fruits. They will also feast on slugs, snails, fish, and shellfish.

When inside our structures roof rats will often eat common structure infesting roaches like the American and German cockroaches.

Roof rats are actively nocturnal and forage several times during the night and sometimes even during the day.

Roof rat nests are often found in the upper portions of structures and hidden places like wall voids.


A female roof rat can breed year-round, and in a single year, she can breed as many as 48 young. Rodent litters average 6 to 8 rats in size. Their life span is about one year.


  1. Roof rats are known as being hoarders and will often stash or steal food and items from a homeowner within their nests.
  2. Roof rats have balance like no other. This is mostly in part due to their long tail that they use as a balancer when navigating along narrow pipes, beams, and ledges.
  3. Roof rats have established social systems and like to stick together. This is most likely where the term “rat pack” came from.
  4. Roof rats do require fresh water (15ml to 30ml per day) and cannot live long without it.
  5. Limiting water sources around your home eliminates an attractant for rats. Think leaking hoses, standing water in potted plants, stored tires, etc.

What are signs of a roof rat infestation?

Common signs that there are roof rats in your property include visual sightings, rat droppings, noise in your ceilings or attic walls, gnawing sounds, and damage to plastics and electrical wires.

Are roof rats hazardous to humans?

Similar to the Norway rat, roof rats can transmit several diseases to humans. Hazardous diseases include murine typhus, leptospirosis, salmonella, and rat-bite fever. Roof rats are also capable of transmitting diseases to pets.

Can roof rats damage my property?

Roof rats can do the same type of damage that Norway rats can. Roof rats can tear up insulation for nesting or gnaw on electrical wiring.

How can I prevent a roof rat infestation?

To prevent roof rats from entering your property, eliminate vines growing on buildings, overhanging tree limbs, and long branches leading to upper windows. Seal all gaps, cracks, or holes with concrete mortar, steel wool, or metal flashing. You can also attach rat guards to electrical wires and cables.

What can I do to eliminate a roof rat infestation?

Your local Abell Pest Control office has products developed for the control of pests such as the roof rat. Depending on the severity of the infestation, a single control measure may not be effective, and an Integrated Program conducted by an Abell service technician will be required.


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