Roof rats can transmit diseases like the bubonic plague and typhus. At this point, none of
the roof rats captured and tested in Maricopa County have been diseased.
Roof rats will enter homes and buildings. They only need a hole the size of a quarter to
Roof rats are good climbers. They can climb walls and use utility lines and fences to
travel from structure to structure.
Outside, roof rats will nest in trees, woodpiles, garbage, and plants. In our area,
oleanders seem to be a popular nesting location.
Inside, high places, like attics, are their preference.
Roof rats do not burrow in the ground or swim.
Roof rats eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, pet food and invertebrates (spiders and worms, for
example). They will also eat paper.
Female roof rats can each have up to four litters a year, each containing five to eight
young. In urban areas where they have no natural predators, the survival rate of the babies is
If you have the following items around your home, you may be more prone to attracting roof
rats: palm trees, yucca plants, pampas grass, honeysuckle, Italian cypress trees, any heavy
shrubbery, wood piles, and storage boxes
Roof rat droppings are long and cylindrical.
How to tell if you have roof ratsIf you have citrus
trees, and you notice hollowed-out fruit on the ground or in the trees, this is an indicator that
roof rats are present. If you hear gnawing or scratching sounds in the attic or in the walls, you
may have roof rats. Pay attention to any droppings in attics and storage areas. If you notice oily
rubmarks on the house, or small holes in the screens, you could have roof rats.
What you can do to prevent roof rats from moving in
Repair any broken or torn screens.
Keep your trees trimmed, and your bushes and vines thinned. Make sure trees are trimmed
back from the house at least 4 feet.
Keep lids on garbage cans.
Clean up debris in the yard and storage areas.
Seal around your attic.
Don't leave pet food outside, especially at night.
Pick your citrus as soon as it is ripe. Remove any fallen citrus from the ground.
Store wood at least 18 inches above the ground and 12 inches away from the walls.