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Pest Library

Roof Rat

CHARACTERISTICS
Size: Color:
Larger rodents that may grow to a body length of 10 to 12 inches. Seldom will a rat weigh more than one pound. Can vary from gray to brown to black.
Found in coastal states, roof rats have long tails, thin bodies, and large eyes and ears. Rats are more prevalent in urban and rural areas, and are found in homes less often than mice because of their larger size.

Behaviour

Few people really like rats or mice, and no one wants them in their house. Rodents live everywhere outside and could enter at any time, but fortunately, this does not occur often. Usually, most home invasions occur in the fall, not because of cooler weather, but because the seeds and plants on which rodents feed outside are gone. Rats and mice must then seek new food sources. Unfortunately, one of these sources may be your home. Rats are excellent climbers and are capable of gaining entry through holes around soffit vents and around cables entering the building, through holes in gable vent screens, and through turbine and box vents on roofs. Many garage doors on homes allow enough space for rats to fit underneath, as well.

Habitat

Outside, rats live in fields, wooded areas, vacant lots, farms, and just about anywhere people have buildings. Rats are seldom a problem in homes except in urban and rural areas. This is due in large part to their size, since rats need a hole about the size of a quarter in order to gain entry into a building. Rats however, may find harborage in many areas around the home - especially in stacked firewood, stones and bricks, and piles of leaves or other debris.

Tips for Control

The best way to avoid invasions of mice is to (1) provide as little harborage as possible that might attract rodents, and (2) seal as many holes and cracks in the outside of the home through which mice might enter. Follow these recommendations to help prevent rodents from seeking the shelter provided by your home:
 
Keep firewood stored as far from the home as possible and store it off the ground.
If possible, remove any piles of debris, stones, bricks, etc. If these are near the foundation of the home they serve as harborages to attract rodents. Once there, it is any easy step for rodents to enter the building itself.
Do not allow piles of leaves to accumulate next to the home's foundation. This also serves as attractive harborage for rodents - mice in particular.
Seal any hole or crack larger than 1/4 of an inch. A good rule of thumb is that if a pencil can fit into it, a mouse could too. Large holes or cracks should be stuffed with steel wool or wire mesh before sealing with caulk or foam, otherwise rodents could chew through to enter.
Install good, thick weatherstrip on the bottom of all doors to prevent rodents from entering.
Remember, our service includes coverage of commensal rats and mice, and much of the service provided is to inspect for signs of rodents and to maintain preventive control measures.

 

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