Roof Rat


Actual Size: 13 to 15” long including the tail

Characteristics: Slender bodies with long tails. Usually gray to black in color.

Habits: Likes to climb up structures like trees or buildings. Indoors, they’re usually found in attic spaces.

  • Also called the “ship rat” or “black rat”. 
  • The tail is longer than their head and body combined. 
  • Prefers to nest above the ground in trees or attics.

Roof Rats in Anaheim

Roof rats primarily live in western, southeastern, and coastal regions of the United States. Here in Anaheim, they’re a pretty big problem for homeowners because they are commensal rodents that rely on human habitats for survival. Roof rats get their name from their habit of climbing up trees, vines, and structures to invade the upper levels of houses or apartment buildings. They have a very long tail that helps them remain balanced while climbing quickly, which is an easy way to differentiate them from other rat species. 

Roof Rat Habitat

In nature, roof rats like to nest in tree canopies and other aerial harborages. They access these high areas by climbing up vines and tree limbs, using small pads on their feet and their long tails to remain balanced. When in urban settings, roof rats live up to their name and climb up onto rooftops where they sneak through loose shingles or other openings to get inside. These rodents are also nocturnal and usually start looking for food just after sunset, traveling along trees and utility lines to gain access to our homes. One of the first signs of a roof rat infestation is a scurrying sound in the attic at night.

Roof Rat Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Roof rats aren’t a pest you want near your home. They can spread dozens of diseases such as rat-bite fever and salmonella by contaminating our food sources. As omnivores, roof rats will eat all sorts of items such as meat, grease, birdseed, pet food, and trash. In addition to spreading serious diseases, roof rats can also damage your property by nesting in walls and gnawing through your belongings. In some cases, they may even strip electrical wires and spark fires. 

Worried you have roof rats in your home? Contact a licensed rodent control company to remove the rodents quickly and efficiently. Attempting to deal with the infestation on your own could put you at risk of contracting a disease, and most DIY methods are not effective against an entire colony.