Meet the Pests – The Roof Rat

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Not all rats are the same.  We often associate rats with Indiana Jones, underground caverns, sewers, and subways of big cities.  In New York City, the rat population far surpasses that of humans living in the five boroughs.  For the record, about 8.6 million people are living in New York City, and the current estimate puts the rat population at about 34 million, or about five rats per person.

The rats were such a problem in 1913 when workers dug out Grand Central Terminal, that designers honored the rats with art-deco sculptures you can see above the Lexington Avenue entrance to the mall at Grand Central Terminal.

The rats that we see underground in the subways systems and sewers are the brown rat, also called Norway Rats.  When Norway Rats infest a building, they stay to the basement and lowest levels of the structure.

In September of 2019, the City of Sacramento was dealing with a rat infestation in a vacant lot in the River District, where the city plans to build a new fire station.  Many homeless encampments were situated around the area as the rats started to take over.  Police removed the homeless as there was a very high risk of people being bitten.  Rats carry several types of diseases such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, rat-bite fever, and salmonellosis.

As the infestation by the River District was at or below ground level, the chances are that the rats in are were Norway or Brown Rats.  Their size and color can easily identify them as Norway rats.  They are brownish-gray in color and can be up to 10 inches long with short tails.  Norway Rats are excellent diggers, and they stay close to the ground.

While we have both of these rats in Sacramento, the vast majority of the rats that we see in the homes, offices, and buildings we service are Roof Rats.  While Norway Rats stay close to the ground and dig, Roof Rats are great climbers and tend to go to higher locations, such as climbing trees, and running across power lines to get into attics and the higher parts of homes and buildings.

Roof Rats are smaller than their Norway cousins, maxing out at about eight inches, and they are darker with black fur and pale underbellies.  They also have a much longer tail.  Running along the utility lines, once Roof Rats to get to a roof, they can cause havoc to wherever they wind up.  We have cleared Roof Rats out of homes, office buildings, restaurants, and so many other types of buildings.  Once they get in, they nest in attics, in the insulation, in drop ceilings, and wall voids.  They eat fruits, insects, will rifle through garbage looking for scraps, and they will even get to the seed left in bird feeders.

As a homeowner in and around Sacramento, if you have a rat infestation, the chances are that they are Roof Rats.  However, when it comes down to it, does it matter what the breed is?  If you have rats, you need to call Pinnacle.  You should call us anyway since we also provide Rodent Exclusion services.  Rodent Exclusion means we will come to your location and do a thorough inspection to see what your weak areas and possible entry points are.  Resolve the issue even before you have the infestation.  Ask us about our 2 Year Service Guarantee.  If the rats come back, so will we.

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