Roof Rat


Actual Size: 13-15” long including the tail

Characteristics: Small and agile. They have a long tail and pointy snout. Roof rats are typically black or brown.

Habitat: True to name, they live and build nests off the ground by climbing canopies and vines.


  • They eat a wide range of food, including seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables, small animals, and inedible substances (like paper)
  • Like most rats, they are typically nocturnal
  • Their tail is longer than the combined length of their head and body.

Roof Rats in El Paso TX and Anthony NM

Roof rats can be a relatively serious pest problem when they get onto residential homes. Roof rats are commensal rodents, living near and dependent upon the human habitat for survival. When these rodents infest homes, they can be found in attics, eaves and rooflines. The most common identifying characteristic of roof rats is their tail. Roof rat tails are hairless and longer than the combined length of their head and body, whereas the tails of other rats are hairy, and shorter than their head and body. Roof rats are less aggressive than the Norway rat and also slightly smaller in size.

Roof Rat Environment

True to their name, roof rats prefer to be high up off the ground. They are most commonly seen in tree canopies, dense shrubs, and climbing vines. These rats have pads on their feet to facilitate better climbing of narrow vines and limbs, and their tail also assists to balance when climbing high up off the ground. Roof rats generally begin searching for food shortly after sunset, using trees, utility lines and fences to gain access to attics, overhead garage storage, wood piles and other stored goods. Roof rats are nocturnal and scurrying sounds in the attic at night are often the first sign of a roof rat infestation in homes.

Roof Rat Habits and Dangers

Roof rats can contaminate and spread dozens of potentially dangerous diseases. When foraging for food, roof rats contaminate food meant for humans, pets and livestock. Roof rats are omnivores, eating both plants and animals, and are very fond of citrus fruit. They also favor pet food, pet feces, bird seed, meat and grease, infesting storage sheds and barbecues. Besides spreading disease, roof rats may cause extensive damage when nesting in walls and attics. If they chew or gnaw on wires, exposing the wires, this can lead to a potential fire inside the walls.

If you notice roof rats in or near your El Paso property, contact your rodent control experts.