Roof Rats (Black Rats)
The roof rat (also known as the Black Rat) is Black or brown. The body is smaller and sleeker than the Norway rat’s. Their fur is smooth and the tail is longer than the head and body.
Roof rats have long been named as carriers of the fleas responsible for the Black Death in the Middle Ages. While this plague is no longer as serious a threat to humans, roof rats are still potential carriers of disease.
The roof rate lives for up to 1 year. They become sexually mature between two and five months and females , produce four to six litters per year that consist of six to eight young each. Within a year one female may be responsible for up to 40 new rodents.
Colour: Brown or Black
Shape: Long tail, large ears and eyes, and a pointed
Size: Head and body can measure over 40 cm long.
Region: Throughout Australia
Roof rats are highly adaptable. They prefer to live in high places, but may live in a variety of environments. They are nocturnal by nature and are accomplished climbers. As their name suggests, roof rats may be found in elevated areas such as trees, rafters, attics and roofs. Roof rats can also nest on the ground if necessary.
In dense populations, roof rats will establish a social hierarchy, wherein dominant males mate more than subordinate males.
They prefer to consume fruits and nuts, although roof rats are omnivorous and will feed on almost anything available to them. These rodents have been known to consume tree bark, meat and grain. Roof rats are also food hoarders, stashing supplies of food such as seeds and nuts.
They are omnivorous, but show a preference for grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables.
The roof rat nests inside and under buildings, or in piles of rubbish or wood. They are excellent climbers and can often be found in the upper parts of structures and roof voids.
Similar to other rodents, Roof Rats may carry a number of diseases. They also pose a threat to stored goods like food, with an estimated 12-14% of global food production lost to rodent activity. Damage to buildings is also of major concern, with rodents being able to chew through concrete and metal shuttering in extreme cases. They commonly gnaw through electrical cables bringing a risk of shock or fire as a result.
Poor sanitation and the presence of rubbish allow rats to exist in residential areas. Good sanitation will effectively limit the number of rats that can survive in and around the home. This involves good housekeeping, proper storage and handling of food materials and refuse and elimination of rodent harbourage (shelter). Outside dog kennels should be properly maintained, to reduce potential rat problems.
On farms where food grains are handled and stored, or where livestock are housed and fed, it is difficult to remove all food that rats can eat. In such situations, paying particular attention to removing shelter that rats can use for hiding, resting, and nesting is valuable in reducing rat numbers.
Warehouses, grain mills, and silos are especially vulnerable to rodent infestation. Bulk foods should be stored in rodent proof buildings, rooms or containers whenever possible. Stack sacks of food on pallets with space left around and under stored articles to allow inspection for signs of rats. Good sanitary practices will not eliminate rats under all conditions, but will make the environment less suitable for them to thrive.
Surekil Pest Control useintegrated pest management for the control of rodents. The most successful and permanent form of rat control is to make their access to structures impossible. Other options include traps and Rodenticides.