Why Do I Have Roof Rats? The Reasons Why & What to Do

A roof rat or ship rat in an attic.

One of the sounds homeowners fear hearing is the scurrying of tiny feet in your attic and crawl spaces. This sound might mean you have rats living in your roof.

If you have a roof rat problem, the good news is that you aren’t alone. Roof rats are prevalent in many parts of the U.S., including Southern California. The bad news is that roof rats can wreak havoc on your home if not appropriately eradicated. 

Learn more about what roof rats are, some of the most common reasons why they might have infested your home, and what to do about it. 

What Are Roof Rats? 

Roof rats, sometimes called black rats or ship rats, are prevalent rats that get their name because they often find shelter in roofs, attics, or the upper parts of buildings. They are good climbers and can easily fit in the cracks and crevices of homes to find their food and shelter. They also reproduce quickly, making them a very dangerous and invasive pest. 

Roof rats are considered dangerous to homeowners because they are destructive and can chew through the wood in your home. They can also chew through drywall, insulation, wires, pipes, furniture, clothing, and food. 

In addition to being destructive, roof rats are also dangerous because they can carry a host of diseases, including Salmonella, dysentery, and even rabies. These diseases can be transmitted through the urine and fecal droppings they leave throughout your home. 

As you can see, roof rats are not something to mess around with. If you have roof rats, let’s look at some of the primary causes and what you can do to eradicate your infestation. 

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Why Do I Have Roof Rats? 

You may have roof rats for several different reasons, but there are three primary factors: available entry points, shelter, and food.

Available Entry Points 

The first reason you may have roof rats is that an entry point is readily available. Roof rats are very talented climbers and can access your property through gaps in your walls and roof. 


Once they make their way in, the second factor comes into play. By finding a cozy space inside, they have found the perfect shelter. They’ll thrive in your attic and crawl spaces, creating a nest and making pathways through the walls. This then leads us to the third reason: food.


Roof rats create pathways in your roof to find reliable food sources. If roof rats make their way into your home, they’ll start eating anything that isn’t stored in an airtight container.

In addition to providing access to food and shelter, you may also have roof rats because of where you live and how your home is set up. Roof rats prefer to live above ground, which means that homes with large attics may be more prone to roof rate infestations. 

In addition to a nice, warm attic, some other things that can attract roof rats include:

  • Heavy shrubbery
  • Palm trees
  • Wood piles
  • Trash
  • Storage boxes
  • Abandoned sheds or storage containers

These are the primary reasons you may have a roof rat infestation, but the good news is that with the help of a professional, it’s easy to take care of your roof rat problem. Let’s learn more about how to get rid of roof rats.

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How to Get Rid of Roof Rats 

If you have roof rats, you may feel like getting rid of them is an uphill battle. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take right now to help fix the issue. Then, you can call a rodent removal expert to get rid of your roof rats.

Create an Inhospitable Environment 

The best thing to do is to create an environment that isn’t friendly to roof rats in the first place. With a high priority on cleanliness and sanitation, you can stop the problem before it even exists. Clean property doesn’t offer them the food or shelter opportunities that hungry rats crave, so the cleaner your home is, the less likely you’ll have these unwanted visitors.

If you feel your home is as squeaky clean as can be, contact the pros at Attic Projects. We will come in and properly sanitize all areas of your attic or crawl space. This will help you eliminate any food source for the rats and rid their scent from your home. Rats are attracted to their own scent, so sanitizing your home will remove their familiarity. 

If you have roof rats already, you’ll need to address how the roof rats got into your property in the first place. We suggest properly sealing any cracks or gaps, removing food sources, and making your property inhospitable to them.

Clean Up Rodent Droppings 

You will also want to rid your home of any rodent droppings. This is not something that should be done by you or someone in your household. Contact a professional to remove rodent waste and properly dispose of it while keeping your home clean and safe. 

Don’t use traps, as they are not a permanent solution. To rid your home of rats forever, you need to seal the entry points that they are using! You can do this by having a professional rodent-proof your home.

Our Attic Cleaning Pros Can Remove Roof Rats

We’re here to help! If you think that you have a roof rat problem, just give us a call. One of our pest management experts will come out to your property and perform a FREE inspection. If a problem is identified, we’ll work closely with you to develop a plan, giving you a free estimate for the work that will be involved.

You’re not alone! Contact us today to take care of your roof rat problem for good.

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