The best offense is a solid defense. Rat proof your home by sealing up entry points, keeping your home clean, manicuring your landscape, eliminating roof rat food and water sources, and spreading the word to your community and neighbors.
Seal up your roof rat entry points outside your home.
Roof rats can come into the home from anywhere, but they generally enter from the roof. Check the areas surrounding your ducting, chimney, ventilation, cooling, and roof work. Examine the siding and base of the house for any possible gaps that lead into the home. Front doors, back doors, pet doors, and garage doors can also be a point of entry. Verify that none of these doors have gaps in the corners or sides. Keep these doors shut whenever possible. Install screens on all windows.
Roof rats can squeeze into almost any opening, crack, or crevasse. They have an oil and dust combination on their bodies which produces a lubricating grease. This grease enables them to squeeze into holes as small as a ¼ inch. Play it smart– if you can stick your finger in the hole, seal it up!
Roof rats have sharp teeth that can cut through cement, metal pipes, aluminum siding, sheetrock, drywall, wood, plastic and a variety of other materials. Seal up holes with steel. Steel wool, steel plating, and steel mesh sealed with heavy duty caulking work best.
Make sure the inside of your home is sealed, too.
When it comes to the interior of your home, ensure that there are no holes in the walls, baseboards, floorboards, or ceiling. The holes created by pipes or electrical cables are especially a target. Many of these holes in the walls are made by kitchen appliances like stoves and refrigerators, but water heaters and air conditioners can also create holes. Be certain that the areas around the holes are sealed up well.
Keep up the curb appeal.
Pick up trash and litter in your yard. Keep your grass cut short. Use a tight sealing lid on your trash, and empty it often. If you have fruit trees, pick up excess fruit off the ground and harvest ripe fruit quickly. Thin out trees and bushes. If you can see through them, roof rats cannot hide inside them. It’s particularly important that tree branches be cut back at least 3 feet from other trees and rooflines. Roof rats are excellent climbers and jumpers so make access to the roof difficult.
Keep a tidy home. Cleanliness is next to rat-lessness.
Roof rats like to hide in dark, dirty, abandoned spaces. If your home is open, bright, and clean, you have a good chance of never meeting them. Try to keep clutter to a minimum and use a tight sealing lid on your kitchen trash can. Don’t leave food out, and clean off dirty dishes quickly after use.
Eliminate roof rat food and water sources.
If you have an irrigation or sprinkler system, check to see if there are any leaks. Roof rats will drink from any available water source. This includes pet bowl water. If you keep pet bowls outside, be certain to only give your pet what you know they will consume in one day. Roof rats eat all varieties of pet food, animal feed, bird seed, and they drink from bird baths. Find a way to make access to birdbaths and bird feeders difficult, or consider eliminating them altogether.
Spread the word to your neighbors and community
Be a good neighbor and let those in your surrounding area know how they can prevent roof rats as well.