The roof rat can easily be compared to the Norway rat, but their ecological and behavioral habits can also help in identifying and properly eliminating these two species. One main way to recognize the characteristics of the roof rat is through their tail. The tail of this rat is hairless, and scaly, and is mostly longer than its body. The roof rat also has a blackish or brownish color and are 6 to 8 inches in body length while their tale is 7 to 10 inches longer.
Roof rats commonly take advantage of living close to man and can be found areas above high places.
Roof rats can be found in:
• False ceilings
• Wood piles
• Overhangs or beams
• Trees with hollow cavities
• Upper portions of buildings
These rats can also burrow in the ground, especially in hot, dry places. They can be found on sidewalks, concrete slabs, etc.
Roof rats are nocturnal creatures that hunts for food above the ground. They are great climbers and can easily climb trees, wires, rooftops and rafters. For them to reach their food, they can use utility lines to come to your home and forage for food, but they can also use the ground to enter homes.
These rats are also great swimmers, and can use the sewers to find new habitats. They are great travelers and may even travel a hundred feet away from their nesting site just to find their food.
Roof rats love to prefer to eat fruits, especially citrus fruits. But, they can also eat different types of foods, such as insects, snails, grains, meats, stored food, livestock, and the likes. These rats easily contaminate food just by them touching or stepping on the food or livestock.
Roof rats can breed all-year round with their females giving birth to 5 to 8 pups, and a possibility of having 4 to 5 liters per year. Within 21 days, after mating, the female rat can have her own first litter. The young rats will need 3 weeks to mature, and after 3 months, these rats can have their own set of litters.
Other Information and Tips
Roof rats are known pests in homes, since they can defile food, cause damage to homes, and are carriers of diseases. They play a great role in the transmission of different diseases, such as bubonic plague, ratbite fever, endemic typhus, etc. Your home should also be protected from them. Effective methods to control roof rats include, trapping, poison baits, exclusion, restriction of habitats, and the likes.
Effective control of roof rats can be difficult because of the known threats they posses and the need of proper knowledge on the behavior of these rats. To properly eliminate these rats from your home, it is advisable to get the help of a pest control specialist instead of handling it yourself.
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