When you think about protecting your home from rats, what do you think about? Sealing up exterior doors so they can’t squeeze through? Closing the garage door quickly every time you have to open it? It varies, but one thing we don’t think about as Fort Worth homeowners is rats falling from the sky. Believe it or not, though, it’s something to consider. Roof rats are a lot different from other rodents, so preventing an infestation requires you to flip your perspective on its head.
Roof Rat Description
Most roof rats are dark brown or black, with a lightly colored underbelly. This coloration, combined with their large size, makes them fairly easy to spot on your property (but catching them is another story). Typically, people think that the Norway rat is the largest species of rat, but roof rats take this prize. Measuring to eight inches long from their nose to the base of their tail, these pests are very large. Add in another six to eight inches for their slender tale, and you’ve got quite an imposing presence. While Norway rats might be bulkier, roof rats use their long, slender bodies to aid in climbing almost anything. Even the skinniest, highest of branches or power lines are no match for their balance, reach, and low weight-to-length ratio. Armed with the same sharp teeth of other mice and rats, combined with their unique climbing abilities, roof rats can get to places that most others can’t.
Along with giving them access to places that most rats can’t get to, their unique climbing ability also makes them extra dangerous. Since they’ll enter homes through the attic or upstairs AC vents, they’re more likely to wind up in your upstairs bedrooms. Since roof rats can spread diseases through their feces and urine, you definitely do not want them walking around your bedroom areas. This poses a larger threat of them transferring fleas and ticks to your pets as well. Plus, they have access to everything from electrical wiring to AC ducts in your upstairs crawl spaces, which can cost you hundreds of dollars in damage.
If these rats end up climbing their way down into the kitchen to raid your food supplies, you’ll have an even bigger problem. Their sharp teeth allow them to chew through almost any storage device, so they can wipe out your food stores quickly. More importantly, they are very likely to contaminate the rest of your food and food preparation areas with their droppings.
With the elevated risks that a roof rat infestation brings along with it, you’ll need to make prevention a top priority. Since their ability to climb makes them so hard to keep out, do-it-yourself methods of eradication are rarely successful. However, there are a few things you can do to lessen your chances of infestation.
Tight caps on chimneys: this will limit their ease of access and encourage them to move on more quickly.
Tight lids on outdoor trash cans: without easy access to food, they probably won’t stick around.
Trim trees, branches, and tall shrubs: roof rats will climb on anything to gain access to your roof.
Secure caulking around windows and doors: roof rats can squeeze through gaps much smaller than you think.
Seal food supplies: if roof rats find food that isn’t sealed securely, they will continue coming back for more.
While these measures can be effective, the climbing ability of the roof rat makes them very difficult to keep out. For guaranteed prevention or eradication methods, contact All-Safe Pest & Termite for more advice or assistance.