Where Do Roof Rats Live? Understanding the Habitat Preferences of the Rattus Murinae

Quite like many people, you when you think of rats, you think of… rats. By that it is meant you may not realize that from a biological standpoint there is an array of different types of rats. Among the rat genus, there are many different subfamilies, including one technically known as Rattus Murinae. This type of rat is commonly known as a black rat, ship rat, house rat, or roof rat. Because rats of different types can pose a threat to humans, you are well served having a general understanding of the habits and habitats of these rodents. This includes understanding where roof rats prefer to reside.

The Importance of Understanding Roof Rat Habitats

In many ways, the best strategy to protect against roof rats is a proactive one. Quite simply, by understanding where roof rats prefer to live, you are placed in a position of being able to initiate strategies to protect your home or business from these potentially hazardous nuisances. If you have a keen understanding of where this type of rat lives, you can eliminate such a nesting area or at a minimum effectively block access to it.

You must understand that rodents like roof rats are capable of spreading disease. An example of such a disease stems from what is known as the hantavirus. The hantavirus can result in a very serious and oftentimes fatal illness known as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. This virus is spread through rat droppings – including dried out rat droppings.

Dry rat droppings present a particular risk to people like you. With all good intentions, you may have had an issue with rats and decide to take the step to eliminate rat droppings yourself. The problem is you likely don’t have the experience, equipment, and supplies to safely clean up rat droppings. You risk your health by sweeping up and throwing away rat droppings.

The shocking reality is that dry rat droppings can contain live hantavirus for an extended period of time. When rat droppings are touched in some manner – like in an unprotected cleanup process – they crumble.  Rat “dropping dust” becomes airborne. Those airborne particles can contain the hantavirus. If you’re exposed to this dust, you may inhale it, infecting yourself with the hantavirus.

Preferred Nesting Areas for Roof Rats

As the moniker suggests, roof rats like to make their homes above the ground, whenever possible. Examples of where roof rats prefer to live include up in trees, in a manner that is similar to squirrels. In addition, roof rats are fond of building nests in thick vegetation growing over a fence or even on a utility line.

Piles of trash present appealing nesting areas for roof rats. Rather than burrow into the base of a pile of trash as some other types of rats are inclined to do, roof rats build their nests higher up in a trash pile.

In a similar vein, roof rats are also fond of wood piles when it comes to places to nest or live. These rodents will build nests somewhere in the upper limits of a woodpile.

Your home is vulnerable to roof rats. Indeed, another accurate name for roof rats would be attic rats. The attic in your home represents an appealing nesting ground for roof rats, if they are able to access the space. And the reality is that a typical attic is accessible to roof rats. For example, if you have trees that hang over your rooftop, roof rats can use this foliage as a pathway from the ground into your attic. In addition, depending on the existence of holes (even rather small ones) on the exterior of your home, roof rats can access the residence, get into the walls, and work their way upward to the attic.

Roof Rats in Your Attic

Roof rats can prove harmful and even dangerous if they nest in your attic. Roof rats are apt to destroy expensive insulation in your attic. In addition, if there are electrical wires in your attic (and there very well may be), roof rats will be inclined to chew through these wires. Rats will gnaw on these wires, raising the risk of an electrical fire in your home.

As was discussed earlier, rat feces can prove to be a significant health hazard. In addition, rat droppings and urine in your attic, or anywhere in your household, emit a foul odor that can impair the livability of your home. Moreover, rats that nest in your attic are also apt to die in that space.

Professional Assistance for Roof Droppings

You may need to consider reaching out to two types of professionals if you’ve an issue with rat droppings in your attic or elsewhere in your home. First, if you think you’ve been exposed to rat droppings, including dry rat droppings, you should promptly consult your primary care physician. Second, you need not expose yourself to the risk of cleaning up rat droppings on your own. Rather, you protect your health and obtain professional elimination of rodent feces by engaging the services of an experienced rat droppings cleanup specialist.