Last week we talked about how we often get calls for and deal with the Florida House Mice that sometimes find their way into our homes and attics. Today, we’re going to address their much larger cousin. No, not the famous rodent who resides just outside of Orlando… Today’s topic will be much closer to home – maybe even yours. We’re talking about the Asian Roof Rat.
The ‘elegantly’ named Rattus rattus is also sometimes referred to as a Palm Rat (or Palm Squirrel!) or a Ship Rat. These pests, who are all over the Sunshine State, came here on the ships of the earliest European settlers. And they never looked back.
They are dark brown in color, sometimes with a white belly, and can range from thirteen to eighteen inches long. Like the Florida House Mice, the Roof Rats’ tails are longer than the rest of their bodies. And many still believe these rats were the source of the Bubonic Plague that wiped out thousands across Europe.
If you’re originally from another part of the United States, you might be familiar with burrowing Norway Rats, but those tend to be rare in Florida.
Roof rats are not dependent on human population but they love taking advantage of our agriculture. In some areas, they present more of a threat to orchards and produce growers than to homeowners. The rats will strip away large portions of oranges, apples, peaches, tomatoes, watermelons, bananas, pineapples, and mangos. They also are the biggest cause of sugar cane damage every year. The rodents don’t even eat the full fruit, discarding half-eaten fruits in favor of something different.
Don’t be fooled, though. Roof rats will invade your home and devour or destroy any available food supply. They love hiding out in attics, soffit, and hollow walls. And like the house mouse, they tend to chew through wiring. And they can even gnaw through plastic and lead pipes!
They are great climbers and can squeeze through holes as small as a quarter. If they can get their head through it, they can get the rest of their body through as well.
In addition to Roof Rats and Norway Rats, you may occasionally spot a Wood Rat or two. They are even rarer in Florida than the Norway Rats, and resemble thin, agile hamsters.
The worst part about a rat infestation is that it is impossible to handle on your own. You must call a professional rodent removal or pest control company. It’s just too hard to track every instance down on your own, especially since they are nocturnal creatures.
We not only provide homeowners our Premier Rodent Removal program, but we also offer free home inspection and evaluations to see if you have a rat problem. If we find an issue, we can seal up all entry points and treat affected areas with a sanitizing cleaner and a deodorizer treatment.
If you’re dealing with rats, we highly recommend you top off the service with our energy efficient T-A-P insulation. Thermal Acoustic Pest control insulation is made entirely of recyclable materials and is safer for your family than the pink fiberglass. Plus, it not only provides excellent soundproofing, but naturally repels and kills silverfish, cockroaches, and ants that might try to invade.
If you’d like details on these or any of our green, sustainable, family safe pest solutions, please give us a call!