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G & G Pest Control

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Wakefield, MA

Serving Metro-Boston and parts of the North Shore Area

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roof rat small ROOF RAT
Rattus rattus
(larger picture)
Description: The roof rat is a commensal (i.e., living in close association with humans) rodent. The head and body are six to eight inches long and the tail is an additional seven to ten inches. It has a slight body which weighs five to nine ounces. The fur is soft, smooth, and brown in color with some black hairs. The muzzle is pointed, eyes and ears are large, and the scaly tail, which is uniformly dark, is longer than the head and body combined. Roof rat droppings are up to 1/2-inch long and spindle-shaped with pointed ends.

Habits: Rats are nocturnal. They are shy about new objects and very cautious when things change in their environment and along their established runs. Outdoors, roof rats prefer to nest in trees and, occasionally, in burrows and vegetation. The rats easily enter buildings through 1/2-inch and larger gaps. In buildings they prefer to nest in the upper levels of the building, and, occasionally, in basements and sewers. They prefer foods such as fruits, vegetables, and cereals. Their foraging range is 100 to 150 feet from their nest.
Rats are associated with various diseases and occasionally bite. Plague is of little concern because it has not occurred in rats in the United States for many years. However, leptospirosis is vectored by rats, and, thus, is a disease of great concern. This disease is acquired by eating food and drinking water which are contaminated with infected rat urine. Rats also cause significant structural damage and product destruction.