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Are Roof Rats Dangerous? Plus, How To Get Rid Of Them

Posted on March 20, 2023

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Are Roof Rats Dangerous? Plus, How To Get Rid Of Them

When it comes to dealing with pests, few things are more unsettling than the idea of rats living in your home. Roof rats, in particular, can be a significant problem for homeowners and property managers. Rats are arguably one of the most annoying pests you will face after termites. These rodents are known for their ability to climb and squeeze into tight spaces, making it difficult to keep them out of a home. In this blog post, we’ll explore whether roof rats are dangerous and provide tips on how to get rid of them. 

What Is A Roof Rat? 

Roof rats, also known as black rats, are a type of rodent that can be found throughout the world. They are named for their tendency to inhabit upper levels of buildings, including attics, rafters, and roofs. Roof rats have a pointed snout and large ears, and they are typically smaller and more slender than other types of rats.

Since roof rats have a typically smaller size they may not be easily visible but can certainly become a significant problem for homeowners and property managers. These rodents can easily squeeze into tight spaces, making it challenging to keep them out.

What Are Their Characteristics? 

Roof rats are excellent climbers and can easily scale trees, walls, and other vertical surfaces. They are also able to squeeze through openings as small as a quarter of an inch, making it difficult to keep them out of buildings. Roof rats prefer warm, humid environments and can be found in a variety of habitats, including urban and suburban areas, farms, and forests.

Roof Rats Vs. Norway Rats: Are They The Same? 

Believe it or not, different types of rats can affect different areas of your home. Roof rats differ from the more common Norway rats in several aspects. First is the color, while roof rats are black in color, the Norway rats are brown, which is the reason for their other name being brown rats.

Unlike Norway rats, which tend to burrow in the ground, roof rats prefer to climb and live on elevated areas. Additionally, roof rats tend to be more cautious and skittish than Norway rats, making them harder to trap and catch.

If you want to get deep into their difference, check out our blog on roof rats vs norway rats.

Signs That Your Home Is Infested With Roof Rats

No one wants their house to be an entry point for rats. But unfortunately, roof rats are among the most common pests in the U.S. Before we move ahead and discuss how you can get rid of these rats, we’ll address the signs that indicate you have an infestation.

Here are some of the most common indicators:


Droppings are among the most common signs that your home is infested with rats. These small rats are known for black droppings that seem larger than usual. Roof rats leave dark droppings about the size of a grain of rice. You can find these droppings in areas where roof rats are active, such as in attics, or on the ground around your home. 

Gnaw Marks

What do rats do in a home? They constantly nibble away at surfaces and create holes. This is also known as gnawing. A single roof rat can cause extensive damage to your property by chewing on wires, insulation, and other materials.

Look for gnaw marks on items like electrical wires, baseboards, and door frames, as these can indicate the presence of these pests. If you notice any signs of roof rat activity contact a pest control company right away!

Screeching Sounds

Roof rats are nocturnal and are active at night, which is when you are most likely able to hear scratching or scurrying sounds in your attic or walls. So, if you are unable to have a peaceful night’s sleep due to these sounds, then it may be a sign that roof rats are using your home as a nesting site or are foraging for food. 


Roof rats build nests from shredded materials, such as paper or insulation. Look for nests in areas like attics, basements, and crawl spaces, as these are areas where they will be most likely to be present.  

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to act quickly to prevent the infestation from getting worse. Roof rats can pose a serious health risk and cause damage to your home, so it is best to address the problem as soon as possible.

How To Get Rid Of The Roof Rats In Your Home

In the previous sections, we’ve covered what roof rats are and how dangerous they can be for both your roof and your property. Now let us move on to the next part of our blog, which delves into how you can get rid of these irritating pests. 

Roof rats
Roof Rats

If you have a roof rat infestation, there are several steps you can take to get rid of them. Here are some effective methods:

Seal Off Entry Points

Sealing off entry points is an important step in getting rid of roof rats. Roof rats can enter your home through small openings, so inspecting your home and identifying any potential entry points is essential. Look for holes or gaps in your roof, walls, foundation, and around doors and windows.

How To Seal Off Entry Points On Your Roof

Look for small holes in the attic or near other areas of your home. If you find them, it is essential to seal these off. Here is how you can do it: 

  • Use caulk to seal small gaps or cracks around doors, windows, and other entry points. Apply caulk generously and use a caulking gun to ensure that the seal is tight.
  • Use wire mesh to cover larger openings, such as vents or chimneys. This will prevent roof rats from entering your home while still allowing for proper ventilation.
  • You can also use chimney caps that are widely available on the market.
  • Keep your doors and windows closed when you can and ensure that there is no access to your drainage pipes from outside, as they can be a perfect entry point for rats. 

Remember to inspect your home regularly and seal off any new entry points that may appear over time. Sealing off entry points is also an integral part of preventing future roof rat infestations.

Use Natural Deterrents

Using natural deterrents is an effective way to get rid of roof rats, especially if you’re concerned about the safety of your pets or family. Peppermint oil is one of these natural deterrents and as roof rats dislike the smell of peppermint oil it can keep them at bay from your home. 

Use Rat-Repelling Techniques 

Prevention is important. However, regardless of how many prevention techniques you use these rats may still make it into your roof and attic. Therefore, you’ll have to take the necessary actions. You can do this with the help of rat baits or by setting up traps. Let us take a closer look at both of them. 

Rat Traps 

Traps can be an effective way to capture roof rats. Homeowners and pest companies have been using them to their advantage for years. Snap traps and glue traps are commonly used and should be placed where roof rats are active. 


Though baits also work at eliminating the rats just like traps, they work differently. Poison baits can be effective but should be used with caution. Several types of poison baits are available, including pellets, blocks, and liquid forms. These baits are designed to be attractive to rats and can be placed in areas where they are active.

You should use rat traps and baits outside your property if you can so that these pesky creatures die outside your home. If you use them internally, ensure that you keep your children and pets away from them, especially if you’re using poison-laced bait. 

Related Post: 7 Best Rodent Repellents To Use In 2024

Contact A Professional Pest Control Company 

The above techniques are effective but may not offer you 100% guaranteed results. There can be some issues. 

If you have a large or persistent infestation, it may be best to call a professional pest control company. They can use more powerful methods to remove roof rats, such as fumigation or trapping. These companies can also advise on prevention techniques to help prevent future infestations.

Keep Roof Rats Away From Your Home!

As we have seen, roof rats can be quite a nuisance, and the longer you ignore them, the more damage they can cause to your home. This is why you need an expert to handle these pests and protect your property from further damage. 

If you don’t want the trouble of finding the right pest control company, then all you need to do is to contact the team of Jamison Pest and Lawn. We have more than 77 years of experience in the pest control industry and are ready to help you!

Contact us today at (901) 452-1505 to book an appointment with our team to get started on the journey to make your home pest-free!

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