||Brown with black intermixed; Gray, white or black underside
||Long and thin with scaly tail; large ears and eyes
||16" total (6-8" body plus 6-8" tail)
||Coastal states and the southern third of the U.S.
|Download the Roof Rat Pest I.D. Card
What are roof rats? Roof rats – also called black rats or ship rats
– are smaller than Norway rats, but cause similar issues. This
rodent gets its name from its tendency to be found in the upper
parts of buildings. The roof rat is thought to be of Southeast
Asian origin, but is now found throughout the world, especially in
Roof rats are primarily nocturnal. They forage for food in groups
of up to ten and tend to return to the same food source time after
time. These rats follow the same pathway between their nest and
Roof rats live in colonies and prefer to nest in the upper parts of
buildings. They can also be found under, in and around structures.
Roof rats secured their place in history by spreading the highly
dangerous bubonic plague. Though transmission is rare today, there
are still a handful of cases in the U.S. each year. Roof rats can
also carry fleas and spread diseases such as typhus, jaundice,
rat-bite fever, trichinosis and salmonellosis.