The roof rat is a type of rat found across the world, particularly in warmer and more humid regions such as Florida and the tropics. They’re frequently found in coastal states and seaports.
Roof rats are longer and thinner than other types of rodents, with large eyes and ears, a pointed nose and a tail with scales. Their fur appears to be soft and smooth, and will usually be a brown color with possible black spots. Their bellies are typically white, gray or sometimes black.
To give you a general idea of average sizes, you can expect adult roof rats in central Florida to measure six to eight inches in length from their head to the base of their tail. The tails are generally longer than the bodies, measuring anywhere from seven to 10 inches. This means roof rats, from the tip of their tail to the tip of their nose, can get up to about 18 inches long in some cases. They’ll weigh five to nine ounces on average, but the larger ones can grow up to 12 ounces in the right circumstances.
Dealing with an infestation
There are a variety of factors that could indicate an infestation of roof rats in your home. Obviously, seeing an actual rat alive or dead is a sign that there’s a potential problem with rats on your property. After all, where there’s one rat, there are usually more!
More frequently people will first notice a potential rodent problem by discovering droppings. Fresh droppings are soft and moist, while old droppings will be hard and dry. They generally measure about a half inch in length and will have pointed ends. The discovery of old droppings does not necessarily mean you have a current rat problem, but it does mean it’s at least worth investigating. The discovery of fresh droppings, however, should be alarming.
You might also notice gnaw marks, damage on boxes or items, greasy rub marks or even rat nests. Damaged electrical wires or insulation could also be a sign of an infestation.
To prevent an infestation or to stop one from getting worse, your first step should be to seal up any holes or cracks that are larger than a quarter by using silicone caulk. Make sure you have screens on all windows and vents, and that you keep trees and shrubs away from the building. If you have any tree limbs hanging over the roof, it’s a good idea to trim them back—rodents can climb trees and may jump or fall off branches and get onto your roof. Roof rats will be attracted to any food they can find, so make sure you clean up messes and that you store dry goods in sealed containers. Keep water sources away from the house and fix any leaks you see on your property.
For more information about preventing roof rats in central Florida, we encourage you to contact the team at Winter Springs Roofing & Repair today. We look forward to working with you soon.