The roof rat has made a global home. It began in Southeast Asia. Like its cousin the Norway Rat, black rats traveled on ships throughout the old and new worlds. They are believed to have traveled from Southeast Asia on ancient ships to Egypt and to have been brought from Egypt to the Roman Empire, which they followed to take hold throughout Europe. They now reside on every continent but Antarctica. They prefer warmer areas and are more populous in the Southern U.S. than in the northern part of the country.
Roof rats are omnivores and will eat plants, grains, and even small animals. They have a sweet tooth and prefer sugary foods like fruits when given a choice. In Georgia, you can find them in fruit trees helping themselves to ripe peaches and other tasty treats.
Roof rats, also called black rats, are dark and like to climb rather than burrow. This includes trees, roofs, and even power lines. They are also excellent swimmers. These nocturnal rodents have dark brown or black backs and light bellies. Like the name suggests, if there are rat pellets in your attic, this is likely to be the culprit.
Roof rats will nest in rafters and attics and forage in the nearby area. They are very dedicated to their home territory and will typically stay within a 50-foot radius of the nest.
As dedicated breeders, a single female rat can have 40 young in a year. Though they only live about 18 months, a female becomes fertile at 12-16 weeks of age. They produce 3-5 litters per year, mainly in the summer and fall, each of which contains up to 16 young with an average of 7.
Nesting rats can be very destructive to your home. They can chew holes in your wood siding and dig into crumbling stucco. They will shred insulation to provide nesting materials, chew wires, and leave urine and droppings wherever they go.
Agile roof rats will find their way into the upper sections of homes through tree branches, power lines, cables, and even jumping rooftop to rooftop in urban areas. Whether you have rats or you know that they’re in the area and you want to protect your home against infestation, Atlanta rat removal requires a similar set of steps.
The first thing to consider is possible food sources. Because roof rats forage in close proximity to their nest, you need to focus on the area surrounding your home, outbuilding, barn, or another area with a rat problem. Pet and livestock food should be secured in airtight containers, preferably metal, as rats can gnaw through wood and plastic. Free-feeding your pets outside is a bad idea and can encourage infestation. Though fruit trees are a favorite food, two or three fruit trees are not enough to support a rat family, and this is more of a risk in an orchard than a yard. Garbage cans should also be closed and sealed to prevent guests. This is also true for compost piles. The more you can reduce feeding opportunities around your home, the less likely you are to find rats in the first place.
The other preventative thing that you can do is to secure all entrances to your attic. A trained wildlife removal professional can help to find the small spaces where a rat can enter and exit your home. If the rats are present, a professional will likely set up an exclusion strategy before sealing the openings.
From there, trapping is the next step. This is more difficult with roof rats than other rodents, as they are known to be the most trap-shy and they prefer to travel by treetop and wire rather than the ground. Professionals will often handle traps in a way that minimizes human scent and places them in a location that is along the animal’s preferred route of travel. Bait may be used in some limited situations, but animal poisons come with the risk of hurting pets who find either the bait or the dead rats and should only be planted by a professional who has considered these factors.
To learn more, contact Urban Wildlife Control your local Atlanta rat removal specialist today!