Signs of a Roof rat infestation in your home

Jan 24, 2023 | Blog

Roof rats can cause considerable damage to your home. They not only damage materials by gnawing through them, but they also tarnish stored food and can carry dangerous diseases. So, what exactly is a roof rat?

Roof rats (also known as black rats and ship rats) get their name from their instinct to find shelter in roof structures. They can reach high areas because they are very agile climbers. Roof rats are smaller than Norway rats, are long and thin, have large eyes and ears, a pointed nose, and a scaly tail. Their coats are sleek and smooth with a charcoal grey, black or light brown on top and cream or white along the underside.

There are many key indicators of a roof rat infestation. First and foremost, seeing an actual rodent, dead or alive, other signs include:


Rat droppings are long and cylindrical, measuring 12-13 mm. Fresh roof rat droppings are soft and moist, whereas old droppings are hard and dried. Rat Droppings tend to be found in specific areas as rats produce up to 40 droppings per night. Droppings in pantries suggest that the pests are feeding on stored goods.


Roof Rats and Norway Rats leave a hind foot track of about 1.9 – 2.5 cm. A mouse’s tracks will be much shorter. Rats will also drag their tails, leaving a mark between their feet tracks. Rats leave foot and tail marks in dusty, less-used areas of buildings. Shining a strong torch at a low angle should reveal tracks clearly. To establish if a rat infestation is active, sprinkle fine flour or talc along a small stretch of floor near the footprints and check for fresh tracks the next day.

Gnawing holes

Gnawing holes from rats are about 5.08 cm or more in diameter and will have rough edges. They prefer gnawing on wood but may also damage electrical wiring.

Rub Marks

Rats use established routes along skirting boards and walls due to their poor eyesight. Grease and dirt on their bodies leave smudges and dark marks on both objects and surfaces they repeatedly brush against. These marks may indicate rodent activity, but as smears may remain for a long period of time, they are not a good gauge of an active infestation.


In the attic or house walls and damaged electrical wires.

Don’t let pesky Roof Rats climb and scurry all over your home. For information on our range of rodent control products, visit our website at or contact us on 086 999 0959 for assistance.