Roof Rat


Actual Size: 13-15” long including the tail

Characteristics: Slender. Typically grayish to dark gray to black.

Habitat: Build and live in nests off the ground by climbing canopies and vines.


  • Also known as the “black rat”  or “ship rat”.
  • Tail longer than the combined length of their head and body.
  • Prefer aerial harborages, living in trees and attics.

Roof Rats in Bristol TN

Roof rats are, true to name, rodents that are often found on the roof of properties. These rodents, much like other rats, are dependent upon human activity 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 Rat Habitat

Roof rats prefer aerial harborages like 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, woodpiles, 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 Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Like other rats, roof rats are capable of transmitting some of the most dangerous diseases. These include salmonella and rat-bite fever, and contamination usually occurs when roof rats get into food meant for people, 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, birdseed, meat, and grease, infesting storage sheds, and BBQs. Besides spreading disease, roof rats may cause extensive damage when nesting in walls and attics. Chewed, exposed wires inside walls can spark, causing interior walls to catch fire. If you have a roof rat infestation in your Bristol property, always contact a licensed rodent control company.