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Have you seen black rats running around on your property, or worse, running around inside your property? If so, you may have a roof rat infestation. Roof rats go by many names. One of their names is the black rat. This is because they are commonly black in color. Some roof rats appear gray because they have brown hairs mixed in with the black hairs. If you're seeing black or grey colored rats, there are a few important things you should know about them.

roof rat crawling in teh rafters

Quick Identification

Roof rats are slightly smaller than the other common rats we have in our area, which are called Norway rats. Roof rats are about 6 to 8 inches with a tail that is about 6 to 8 inches as well. This puts them at 12-16 inches in total. That is longer than a foot. So, even as the smaller of the two rats, they'll still catch your attention when you see one run along a wall.

Roof Rat Behavior

These rats are sometimes called house rats because they love being in man-made structures. Norway rats prefer to live in burrows under the ground in your yard and are less likely to infest your Dallas home.

  • Roof rats are great climbers. They can easily scale trees and jump onto your roof. They can also easily climb up the downspouts of your home. You can resist them by trimming tree branches away from your roofline and by putting wire mesh in your downspouts.

  • Roof rats target high entry points on your home more often than low entry points. You can keep them out by doing a yearly inspection of your roof and roofline. Seal any gaps, cracks or openings, and apply metal flashing to vulnerable areas that roof rats can chew through.

Fruit Rat

The roof rat, known scientifically as Rattus rattus, shares some characteristics with other close relatives, like the fruit rat, rattus rattus frugivorous. If you have fruit on the ground in your yard, roof rats will be strongly attracted to your property. Once they're done feeding on that fruit, they'll explore your perimeter and they may attempt to get onto your roof. It can be difficult to keep roof rats from getting at fallen fruit or the fruit hanging from the branches of trees. Their ability to climb allows them to climb over protective fences and their ability to jump as high as three feet into the air can give them access when they can't climb over. Keep in mind that rats can also fall from a height of as much as 50 feet without being hurt. If there's a tempting food source, they can try to get at it over and over again.


When a roof rat gets into your home, it can be a serious threat to you and your family. Here are just a few of the problems rats cause.

  • They chew holes in your exterior and these holes can allow rainwater and secondary pests into your home.
  • They make short work of chewing through sheetrock, baseboards, and other building materials.
  • They scratch and chew wallpaper, insulation, cardboard and other things to gather materials for their nests.
  • They chew holes in stored furniture and establish nests inside.
  • They leave their droppings and their urine where they sleep, which can ruin stored furniture and other stored items.
  • They contaminate sensitive areas and packaged food with feces, urine and shed hairs.
  • They spread ticks, fleas, lice, mites, and other parasites as they explore.
  • They chew on wires and this can lead to a fire.
  • When corned, a rat may fight back and bite a child, a pet, and also an adult.

Roof Rat Control

If you're dealing with a roof rat infestation in Dallas, reach out to All-Safe Pest & Termite. We provide advanced pest control solutions for difficult and dangerous pests like roof rats. We're standing by to help!

Tags: residential pest control | rodent control | roof rats |

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