Roof rats can build pretty big colonies when given the chance.
The Life of a Roof Rat
If you can hear roof rats scurrying around in your walls throughout the day, it’s likely you have a large infestation. Roof rats only live a short 12-month lifespan, but they make the most of it. Females are only pregnant for 22 days before giving to birth to 6-8 rat pups. These pups reach maturity at 2 months old and are capable of having litters of their own. Females continue to produce several litters throughout the year. In larger populations, a hierarchy where dominant males male mate more than other males is formed. So in short, a multi-generational family could contain somewhere between 8 to 40 roof rats! Yikes!
Roof Rat Nests
Roof rats can nest anywhere. However, as they are such great climbers, they are likely to prefer elevated spaces. Target areas include the roof, attic, old palm fronds, and thick oleanders. But don’t be fooled. Roof rats can just as easily build a nest under a building or pile of wood. Secrecy and seclusion are key for roof rats. The more abandoned and dirty, the better.
Getting Rid of Roof Rats
If you find out you have roof rats in your yard or home, start screening off and sealing off any possible entry points. Especially, windows, vents, and doors. Holes around pipelines should also be filled in so gaps that lead back into the home do not become roof rat highways. Then pick up some rat traps. Once you start setting traps, be patient and keep the trap in place for a week or more. Even if the trap doesn’t catch any rats at first. Roof rats are suspicious of new objects.