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Roof Rats

Learn how to identify roof rats and the threat they can pose to your home and family.

Description

Black or Brown in color, 7 to 10 inches long, with large ears and eyes, pointed nose and a long tail – sometimes longer than their body. Roof Rats are smaller and more slender than Norway rats.

Habitat

Roof rats are highly adaptable and prefer to live in high places, but may live in a variety of environments. They are very good climbers and often inhabit trees, roofs, eaves or attics.

Diet

Roof Rats primarily consume grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables, although roof rats are omnivorous and will feed on almost anything available to them. Roof rats also hoard food, hiding food supplies too large to eat in one feeding.

Life Cycle and Reproduction

Rats can live up to 18 months, but most die before reaching a year old. Females are capable of producing up to eight young per litter and can breed year-round. The young are born 21 to 23 days after mating. Young rats reach reproductive maturity and leave their mothers at about three months. The average female has four to six litters per year.

Threat

Mice and rats transmit diseases through physical contact, bites, by contamination. They damage and destroy property by chewing wires, which may cause fires. They destroy labels on cans and damage sacks and other containers. They undermine buildings, gnawing on pipes, chew water hoses, and cut through mortar and cement. They damage wood doors, floors, walls, clothing and furniture. Mice and rats carry diseases that are health hazards to both human and domestic animals – diseases such as typhus fever, trichinosis, plague, infectious jaundice, salmonella.

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