Roof rats

(Rattus rattus)


Roof rats (Rattus rattus), also known as black rats, are small, typically dark gray rodents. The easiest way to quickly distinguish a roof rat from a Norway rat, other than the smaller size, is that a roof rat’s tail is very long. If you were to pull the tail back over the body, the roof rat’s tail would extend past its snout. Like other rodents, roof rats will leave dark rub or grease marks in areas that they frequent.


Roof rats are so named because they are typically found overhead in structures, in drop ceilings or attics. Although they typically forage after sunset, evidence of their activity can be found around the house or structure. As previously mentioned, roof rats will leave dark streaks when the rub against surfaces, as well as gnaw marks in wood and ceilings. Their droppings can also be found in piles below their nests in the ceiling.

Other than eating or contaminating stored food, rodents can be a danger in a home or building due to their chewing behavior. Roof rats can chew through wires, especially those found in attics or ceilings, which can result in electrical outages or fires.


Exclusion, sanitation, and reducing harborage or shelter are the best solutions to rodent pest management. Exclusion involves sealing voids, cracks, crevices, and other openings so rats cannot enter or nest in buildings. However, this can be difficult. Rats have a very soft skeleton, and can squeeze through openings only half an inch wide.

If you are having rodent issues, call your local Cook’s Pest Control office to have our thoroughly trained and equipped pest management professionals lay out a rodent treatment plan with you.

About Rats

  • Both mice and rats invade a home looking for food and warmth.
  • They can contaminate more food than they actually eat.
  • Rats often start colonies in attics or under porches – and they’re harder to eliminate than mice.