Are Roof Rats Dangerous?

Here, we look at roof rats with the level of risks posed to humans.

Safety is paramount for most people due to our basic or primary instincts.

As the name implies, the damage caused by roof rats is mostly tied to human dwellings, which makes it a major culprit and target when it comes to adopting far-reaching treatment methods.

Rodent infestations are among the most difficult to deal with due to the damage caused and the health risks.

The most notorious rats that cause problems in homes and businesses are cotton rats, Norway rats, and roof rats.

How Dangerous Are Roof Rats?

Before we get to the dangers of roof rats, we must first have an overview of what they are.

Adult roof rats measure about 16” long (body and tail included). Their scaly tails and large ears and eyes make them easily recognizable. Roof rats have a mixture of black and brown colors.

These pests feast on a wide range of foods that include slugs, fruits, seeds, berries, nuts, snails, insects, and sometimes aquatic organisms for those living close to water bodies.

Roof rats are known food hoarders and stash supplies to be eaten when hidden in their nests.

Regarding habits and behaviors, these nocturnal rodents hardly exit their nest during the day. The only time this is likely to happen is when their nest becomes overpopulated.

As their name suggests, roof rats love to bread in suspended locations such as upper parts of buildings.

It must be said that sometimes, roof rats are found nesting in other sections of buildings apart from roofs. Female members of this species are prolific breeders and can produce or add as many as 40 members to the colony yearly.

Common Dangers Posed by Roof Rats

Also called black rats or ship rats, roof rats are mostly considered unwelcome like most rodents.

They pose several dangers to humans and pets that range from being carriers of parasites to contamination of food supply and destruction of property.

Let’s find out more about each of these dangers.

i. Carriers of Parasites

When roof rats infest your property, one of the risks you’re likely to face is the transfer of parasites to your home.

Common parasites carried by roof rats include ticks and fleas. These can cause many discomforts to humans and pets and even spread a wide range of diseases.

Examples of diseases transmitted by ticks include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, borrelia mayonii disease, anaplasmosis borrelia miyamotoi disease, babesiosis, powassan virus disease, and ehrlichiosis disease, among others.

Ticks also spread quite many diseases that include tularemia, bubonic plague, tungiasis, and murine typhus, amongst others. These diseases do not include those transmitted by roof rats.

Here, it’s clear that having roof rats around your home is risky and should be addressed immediately.

ii. Contamination of Food Supply

Food contamination is a big issue when it comes to rodent infestations.

This mostly arises from their urine and droppings found around and within food sources. As filthy feeders, it’s easy for such droppings and urine to cause the transmission of a wide range of ailments.

Examples of diseases transmitted by roof rats include tularemia, salmonella, Hantavirus, plague, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and many others.

The risks of ingesting contaminated food sources are significantly high when you have no idea of an existing infestation.

Your best bet at preventing the ingestion of contaminated food and possible transmission of diseases is by disposing of all affected food.

Also, proper storage of food is necessary to keep them away from these rodents. Further action will require calling for comprehensive treatment of infested areas.

iii. Destruction of Property

Roof rats cause all sorts of damage to property, including urine and poop stains on furniture and sections of the home, burrowing, as well as chewing on wire insulations.

Other forms of damage include house fires which can result from sparks caused by short-circuiting of damaged electrical wires.

There are also gnawing marks on furniture in addition to scratches. As their incisor continually grows, they need to have them filed to size, which causes most of the chewing and gnawing action.

If nothing urgent is done to check such destruction, nothing will be left to salvage.

Roof Rat Control and Prevention

Given the many risks and dangers associated with roof rat presence, effective control strategies are needed to eliminate them. For ongoing infestations, it’s best to call for professional help.

Rodent management companies offer a wide range of solutions to such roof rat problems.

You can also adopt the proactive approach to treatment which mainly involves prevention. Here, a wide range of simple actions is performed regularly to discourage roof rats from residence within your property.

Examples of preventive treatments for roof rats include regular trash disposal, keeping your surroundings tidy, clearing your yard, installing chimney caps, and sealing off possible entry points.

  • Regular Trash Disposal

One of the incentives that keep rodents coming around is a trash can that’s not disposed of regularly. You might want to change your disposal habits by making them more regular.

The trashcan should be washed too.

  • Keeping a Tidy Surrounding

Roof rats love untidy surroundings as they offer lots of clutter for hiding and nesting. Consider starting a regular cleanup of your home to make your space unattractive to these rodents.

  • Clearing your Yard

Some yard work like the removal of excess vegetation, mowing the lawn, and trimming your trees and hedges can go a long way to discourage roof rat presence.

  • Installing Chimney caps

Chimney caps serve an important function as they help keep out foreign bodies including pests like roof rats from getting in. You should shop for a durable cap that will last many years.

  • Sealing off Possible Entry Points

Roof rats thrive in surroundings with lots of entry points. You might want to closely inspect your home and have all holes sealed.

Roof rats are dangerous for the reasons discussed above. To keep yourself and your family safe, you’ll have to adopt a number of strategies that include removal and prevention.