What Is Roof Rat?

The roof rat, also known as the black rat or ship rat, is one of the two commensal rats. This species is smaller in size in comparison to the Norway rat.

They get their name from their tendency to inhabit roofs and attics of buildings in urban areas. Once these critters get on your property, they damage materials by gnawing through them and contaminating your stored food.


Roof rats are long and thin and have large eyes, ears, and pointed noses. Their scaly tail makes it easy to distinguish them from other rats. This species has soft and smooth fur in brown intermixed with black spots. The undersides of these rats are often white, grey, or black.

Adult rats’ heads and bodies are 6-8 inches long, and their tails are longer than their heads and bodies. Their tails measure anywhere between 7 to 10 inches.

Roof rats mature sexually between two and five months. They produce litters of 6 to 20 and have a gestation period of 20 to 24 days.

The newborn rats depend on their mother, so they stay in the nest for 17 to 23 days. On average, roof rats can live for about a year. Depending on the food availability and climate, this species can breed throughout the year, with peaks in spring and fall.

Roof rats are food hoarders and like to store food like seeds and nuts. While they consume fruits and nuts, they are also omnivorous, which means they will feed on almost anything they find. It is common to find roof rats eat grains, meats, nuts, tree bark, and seeds.

Roof rats are nocturnal and accomplished climbers. They like to live in high places, so it is common to find them on roofs, trees, rafters, and attics. However, if the need is, they may also live in a variety of other places like buildings, garage storage spaces, piles of rubbish or wood, and wall voids.

There are various signs of a roof rat infestation in the home. First, seeing an actual rodent, dead or alive, is a significant indicator of a potential roof rat problem. Another common sign is the presence of droppings in various corners of your home.

These droppings will be about ½ inch and have pointed ends. If the droppings are fresh, they will be moist and soft, while old ones will be dried and hard. Finally, gnaw marks, damaged food packages, nests, or greasy rub marks can indicate roof rat activity.

Tom's Pest Control – The Roof Rat Removal Expert

At Tom’s Pest Control, we offer affordable and effective rat removal services. Our team of trained and experienced pest controllers come to your property to examine it thoroughly, find the root cause of the infestation issue, and implement the right strategies for positive results.

We know your home or business’s importance to you, so we use the latest technology and safe pest control products to remove rodents effectively. In addition, our team of experts believe in quickly addressing your needs, so when hiring us, you can be sure your problem will be solved as soon as possible.

With our help, your property will be free from any rat infestation, and your family’s safety will remain our top priority.

Contact Us

Call our pest control experts today to keep your property free of roof rats.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind of Threat Do Roof Rats Pose?

Roof rats may cause damage to your property by gnawing through walls, wiring, and pipes. In addition, they will likely eat your stored food like grains, cereals, etc. and contaminate it with their faeces. These creatures can also spread disease through their urine, droppings, bites, and fleas and mites living in their fur.

How are Roof Rats Different from Norway Rats?

Roof rats are thin and light in comparison to Norway rats. Also, unlike the Norway rats, they have a pointed nose with a more rounded nose. The tail of roof rats is longer than their body, while the tail of the Norway rats is shorter than their body. The roof rat has black fur, which is darker in colour than that of a brown Norway rat.

Where Do Roof Rats Nest?

It is common for roof rats to nest above the ground level in trees, bushes, and spaces with dense vegetation. However, if they get inside your home or building, they will likely be found in attics, behind walls, above false ceilings, and on cabinet tops.