If you live in Arizona, then you most likely deal with roof rats from time to time. Also known as Rattus Rattus, these rats are known as black rats. Despite their name, they are actually dark brown, they are around 13 to 18 inches long and they can transmit a variety of diseases. Unlike others types of rats, these are great climbers, which is why you will find them on the roof as well as in your living room.

Things to know about Roof Rats

Normally the Roof Rat is thin and long. It will have large ears and eyes, a scaly tail and pointy nose. Not only that, but their fur is smooth and soft. As for their underside, that can be black, gray or white depending on the situation. One thing to note about them is that their tails are longer than the body or head to begin with. If you include their tail, the overall length of a Roof Rat can be up to 40 cm or sometimes even less than that.

Their weight is roughly 5-9 ounces, although some people found Roof Rats that had 12 ounces. These rats will travel from the tree to the roof, and that’s how they tend to enter your home most of the time. You can even find them on utility lines, which makes it very easy for them to go from one place to the other without a problem.

As they enter your home, Roof Rats will focus on staying in remote and dark locations like cabinets, attics, false ceilings or walls. Although there are reports that some were found in swimming pools, attics, garages, patios, laundry rooms and many others.

What a lot of people don’t realize is the fact that Roof Rats tend to spend roughly 90% of their life above the ground. While they might enter the plumbing system of your home, normally that’s not an entry point for them.

Are Roof Rat unique to Arizona?

No, they are known to exist in many warm climates, be it Virginia, the Southern Atlantic coast and even Florida or Oregon. The first Roof Rat outbreak in Arizona took place in the Phoenix region in 2001 and in 2004 there were lots of rat sightings in Phoenix, Glendale, Paradise Valley, Tempe and Phoenix, among many others. Roof Rats are known for crawling into cars or trucks, so it’s easy for them to get around from one place to the other. As a result, the Roof Rat infestations can easily spread without you even knowing about them.

Finding Roof Rats in your home?

There are many signs of Roof Rat activity, and you need to search for them. One of the main signs is various kinds of damage to electrical wires and plastics. You should also search for other stuff like gnaw marks and gnawing sounds. Noises in the walls or the attic can also be a given here. It’s important to keep the situation under control and not panic, working with a good exterminator might be the right option and it will definitely be worth the effort.

Roof Rats will enter your home through the attic, but they also sneak via pet doors, bathroom windows and so on. They can also chew through the dry wall, plastic, wood, aluminum siding and many others. That means you really need to keep your house locked down when you are away, otherwise these pests can easily enter your home without a problem.

How can you keep Roof Rats away from your home?

The last thing you want is a Roof Rat infestation. That’s why a good idea is to figure out how to keep them out of your home. Ideally you want to consult an exterminator, just to be safe that you have the right ideas and tools to make it happen.

Trimming your trees is also a very good idea, that will limit the entry points quite a bit. If you have any holes in your walls, repair them and caulk all cracks. We also recommend you to use stucco diamond mesh for sealing holes. Remove stale water and pieces of food from your home, these will attract Roof Rat. The same thing you want to do when it comes to nuts and fruits that drop in the backyard, remove them as fast as you can. And yes, if you’re not home, close all your doors and windows, otherwise they can be a great entry point for Roof Rats.

Take good care of your landscape area too. Prune the fruit trees, remove any wood piles and store them away from your home. If you have any thick ground covers, don’t hesitate to trim them and thin out any bushes to be safe.

Getting rid of Roof Rats

The best thing that you can do is to call an exterminator from Allied Pest Solutions. The exterminator will have all the tools he needs to eliminate roof rats fast, and he also has all the experience needed to prevent any further expansion from these pests. Baiting and trapping will help a lot, so these can be some very interesting solutions to focus on. Using chemicals to eliminate roof rats can also be a very good idea. There are a plethora of options, you just need to make the right pick and ensure that the experience will always be a very good one.


Roof rats are a major issue in Arizona, so knowing how to prevent a potential infestation is extremely important. We also recommend you to use these tips if you want to keep them away from your home. In case it’s too late for that, you can safely rely on an exterminator. He will be able to eliminate all signs of roof rats in your home. It’s a very good idea to contact an exterminator as soon as you see any signs of potential roof rat infestations. While you can try to use baits and traps yourself if there’s just a rat or two, if you’re dealing with an infestation it’s a much better idea to work with professionals!