picture of a roof rat

Why Are There Roof Rats in the Attic?

As their name implies, roof rats prefer to spend their lives high off the ground.

This makes them the perfect pests to invade attics, which they do with regularity. It only takes a small gap half of an inch in diameter along a roofline to invite them inside.


One of the signs that there’s a roof rat in the attic is actually spotting the pest. Therefore, it’s important that residents are able to identify them.

Roof rats are slightly smaller than the more prevalent and ground-dwelling Norway rats. Adults grow up to 14 inches long, with their distinctive hairless, scaly tails accounting for more than half that length. They weigh a maximum of 10 ounces.

Problems, Diseases, and Damage

The pests carry numerous diseases that can be passed on to people such as:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Rat-bite fever
  • Plague

Roof rats in attics damage structures and create fire hazards as their gnawing can damage electrical wiring. Urine and droppings pose a disease threat and create a generally unhealthy environment in the home.

Signs of Roof Rat Presence

It’s not always easy to detect the presence of roof rats in the attic or near houses.

Citrus Trees
Homeowners in climates that support citrus trees have an advantage, as the animals can’t resist these fruits. They will bore a hole into oranges, eat out the inner flesh, and leave behind a collapsed ball of rind. For lemons, they do the opposite, chewing off the rind and leaving the inside still hanging on the tree.

Keeping Them Out

  • Rat-Proofing: An overlooked part of roof rat control is thoroughly reviewing a home’s exterior to rat-proof it.
  • Garage: Ill-fitting garage doors can invite the pests inside, as can any gaps around vents, pipes, and cables.
  • Roof: Pay special attention to the roofline, looking for spaces in eaves, uncovered chimneys, and siding that has pulled away from the structure. This intensive process can benefit from the input of a professional.

Seek Out the Experts
The experts at Western Pest will not only treat the problem, but handle the steps needed to prevent future infestations of roof rats in attics.

Learn more about Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.

Call for service: (877) 250-3857