What Are Roof Rats?

 

Roof rats are black or dark brown rats that are becoming increasingly problematic in Central Texas and Austin.   They reside in your attic, measure thirteen to eighteen inches in length, weigh up to nine ounces, and are slender with almost hairless ears.  Most people first notice an infestation of these rats in their home by finding droppings or by hearing clawing or gnawing sounds in the attic.

Rodent issues in winter

About Roof Rats

Prime Conditions

Roof rats are are commonly found outside the home in dense vegetation, debris, piles of wood, and trees. When inside, they are primarily found in upper levels of housing. They enter homes through any openings, even as small as a nickel which often makes closing up entrances difficult. Attics are very attractive to roof rats as they provide safety from predators and a warm, comfortable place to rest and reproduce.

Food Requirements

Roof rats are known for their omnivorous appetite, but lean more towards the vegetarian side. Foods include: nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruit and plant material. They also consume pet food, insects, lizards, soap, paper, and candle wax. All are commonly found in your home and provide great housing

Medical Significance

Roof rats are known for carrying serious diseases. Rats can transmit diseases via urine, feces, and biting. Common rat-carried diseases include: Hantavirus, Salmonella, Rat-bite Fever, Leptospirosis, Tapeworms, and Murine Typhus.

Damages

Roof rats have the capacity to cause a lot of damage to your property as they only need a small hole to gain entry into your home. Once inside, roof rats can create a hole or tunnel, creating areas used for dwelling. These burrows can cause structural damage by weakening the foundation of your home. Roof rats are known for gnawing on pipes, electric wires, upholstery, door frames, etc. Because of this damage, they can cause fires and substantial erosion of structure that may cause costly repairs.

Tips For Preventing Roof Rats From Entering Your Property

A man trimming a shrub with hedge clippers outdoors.

Landscape

Always maintain a clean yard, rats love moisture and heavy shrubbery. Trim bushes until light penetrates trees, roof rats love oleanders. Clip tree branches from all structures to at least six feet. Remove leaves and weeds from under trees and shrubs, and remove all piles of wood from yard.

Fixing a roof by installing new shingles

Residential Proofing

Caulk all holes, crevasses, and gaps larger than a nickel. Remember to shut doors when entering or exiting. Secure vents and pet doors at night. Protect your fireplace with a chimney cap. Inspect hot water heaters, driers, dishwashers, and sinks for any holes. Always remove pet feces from ground. Store bulk food and seeds in sealed, metal, containers. Cover or empty all water sources on residential property including: birdbaths, fountains, and pools.

If you believe that you have a roof rat infestation and would like us to come out and provide you with an estimate on removal and repair, get in touch with us today.

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