Get to know your furry, uninvited guests.
Roof rats Rattus rattus are smaller in size and tend to be more slender compared to Norway rats. Roof rats tend to have longer tails that reach up to and over their heads. These rats are also called the gray-bellied rat, white-bellied rat, black rat and ship rat.
How do I identify a roof rat?
Often mistaken for common house mice, roof rats have pointed noses and large ears. However, what sets roof rats apart from mice is their proportionately large heads and feet compared to their bodies.
- Large ears and eyes, pointed nose
- Black or dark brown fur, can be light or dark on underside
- Tail is longer than body. Tail can be 7 to 10 inches in length
- Thinner rat, up to 8 inches long (not including tail), weighs 5-12 ounces
- Smaller than Norway’s and juvenile roof rats can be mistaken as mice
What do roof rats eat?
Roof rats will eat meat and grain, but their coastal roots drive them to prefer fresh fruits, seeds and nuts. They will also eat snails, slugs and insects. Overall, roof rats eat smaller portions of food compared to Norway rats.
Roof rats prefer to live above ground in shrubs, trees or attics. They also love to eat in multiple locations. Knowing where roof rats live and eat can help when outfitting your integrated pest management program.