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  • Fort Worth Educational Article of the Month - Roof rats

Roof rats

Roof rats

Are you hearing skittering and chattering from around the upper parts of your Fort Worth home? It might not be squirrels. You could have RATTUS RATTUS, or roof rats. As indicated by their name, roof rats are most often found up, trees, on rafters, in attics or on roofs. Look for Visual signs of live or dead rodents. These rats are dark brown or black and have long hairless scaly tails, large ears, and a pointed nose. If you see them running around in the open it often means their hiding spaces are all filled by other Texas rats. Droppings can be another indicator of roof rat activity. Be on the lookout for greasy deposits that are produced as the rodent travels along an edge and the oils in their fur rub off . Finding a nest made from insulation or other gathered trash is another indicator. Roof rat’s nests are usually made in insulation like that found in attics.

Roof rats prefer to be up high and are excellent climbers. Roof rats adapt easily and are accomplished acrobats. The normally live in large groups and quickly establish a social pecking order. In this hierarchy the stronger and more dominant males get to mate more than their lessers. Roof rats begin breeding at about 3 months of age. Each female can reproduce year round and will produce about 35 off spring a year. Like all Texas rats, roof rats carry a myriad of diseases. Roof rats are omnivorous and have been known feed on almost anything available to them. Their choice of food however is fruit. Because of this they are sometimes called the “fruit rat”. If forced to because of their Fort Worth environment these rodents will most anything including plastic, bark off trees, other animals or carcasses of their own dead. Like squirrels Roof rats are classic food hoarders, stowing away supplies of small items like seeds and nuts.

Now that you have identified your rat infestation type, what do you do?? The good news is Roof rats are not protected under the law. This means they can be controlled any time of year using whatever traps, poisons or chemical methods are at your disposal. There are a wide variety of snap traps that will kill the Texas rat, live traps that allow you to relocate the rat or dispatch it yourself. There are exclusion traps that eliminate your problem by letting the rat out but not back in. There hundreds of different types of poisons to kill them quickly. If getting rid of your rat infestation through the use of poison or chemicals it must specify that it is for rat control by a federal or Texas state authority you must always use these products in accordance with label directions and the law.

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