What Are Roof Rats? Can They Damage Your Roof?

Homeowners across the United States know the importance of a quality roof. After all, your roof is the first line of defense against the elements and a critical feature that can increase or decrease the value of your home. Unfortunately, there’s something that won’t think twice before munching through your shingles to get inside your house: root rats. What are roof rats, and can these critters damage your roofing material? Let’s see what an experienced roofing contractor in Central Florida has to say!

About roof rats

Roof rats, also known as black rats or ship rats, are the smaller of the common rats. They get their name from their uncanny ability to find shelter in the higher sections of homes and buildings, and once inside, these rats destroy materials and contaminate food supplies with dangerous diseases. Identifying a roof rat is not too difficult—they are long and thin rodents with large ears and eyes, a pointed nose and a scaly looking tail. Their fur is smooth, typically brown with spots of black here and there. Their bellies can be white, black or gray.

Tell-tale signs of roof rats in your attic

How do roof rats enter homes? They either jump onto rooftops from tree branches or utility lines, or squeeze through nickel-size holes in walls, pipes or vent openings. The best places for them to nest are in closed, unused attics and crawlspaces, but they’ll make a home anywhere up there as long as the space is protected and free of other creatures.

You may have a rodent problem if you notice lines of little black droppings and rub marks from the rats’ dirty fur along walls and baseboards. Support beams, roof eaves, ledges, doors and other wood features of your home may show signs of gnawing. At night you might hear squeaking and scratching inside walls and ceilings.

Roof rats cause property damage

Yes, roof rats can do some serious damage to your property and belongings. Damage is liable to add up quickly, and tends to befall attic insulation, electrical wire casings and piping. On an even less pleasant note, roof rats that travel down to kitchens and pantries will eat and contaminate food items and cookware. This is how they spread diseases like salmonellosis, leptospirosis, rat-bite fever, typhus and the plague to humans, as well as carry ticks, fleas and mites.

How to remove these pests and prevent an infestation

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent roof rats from entering your home. First, check for damaged attic vents, vent pipes, tiling and louvers, as these are prime pest entry points. Any opening a quarter-inch wide or more should be covered with hardware cloth. Trim tree branches and ivy plants that are close to roofs, fences or utility poles. Basically, maintain anything rodents can use to climb onto your roof. To remove rats already inside your home, use traps rather than poisons, or call a local pest control company to remove them.

Do you need to hire a roofing contractor in Central Florida? Call Winter Springs Roofing & Repair today!

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