Palm Rats / Roof Rats
Palm Rat Facts
Palm rats, also known as roof rats, black rats, ship rats or house rats, are the leading rodent pest in Florida and in other tropical climates. They are climbers and prefer to nest off the ground in trees like palms, which is how they got their common name. Fruit is one of their main food sources.
Palm Rat Damage
Inside, these pests can tear through insulation or gnaw on electrical wires, potentially short-circuiting any electronic devices. If they get into your kitchen, they’ll eat any food they can get their paws on. Outdoors, they can damage your garden by eating plants, fruits, and vegetables. They can also find their way into garbage cans and munch on any food scraps tossed away. Palm rats will chew on the sealant along roof tiles, which is another reason why they get into your home.
Palm Rat Infestation
Signs of a palm rat infestation include droppings found inside of your home and gnaw marks on food packaging, wooden structures, electrical wires or other household items. You may also notice greasy “rub marks” from dirt and oil on the bodies of rats on beams, rafters, walls or other fixtures. At night you will probably hear sounds of gnawing, clawing or screeching.
As is the case with many rats, the roof rat can transmit a variety of different diseases that are harmful to both humans and other animals. Some of these diseases include murine typhus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, rat-bite fever and even the plague. A few of these diseases are rarer than others, however, if you find yourself in contact with rats and develop flu-like symptoms or skin discolorations within a few days after exposure, immediately seek medical attention.
Types of Palm Rats
Palm Rat Identification
The palm rat’s body spans from three to eight inches and they have the ability to jump as far as eight feet. Their lifespan is two to three years. Female rat litters can range from five to eight babies and they can give birth up to six times a year. Roof rats generally prefer vegetables, fruits and grain.
Palm Rats In The Attic, Walls & The House
You’ll find these rats in the tallest parts of structures. They will nest in ceiling voids, in trees, crawl spaces and storage rooms where there is little activity. Outdoors, they can be found in vegetation, wood or other organic debris.
Their ease of accessing indoor areas leads to a frequent need for palm rat pest control measures, especially in the southern part of the United States. Since these rats spend most of their time in trees feeding, it gives them easy access to leap onto your roof.
Frequently Asked Questions About Roof Rats
What do palm rat droppings look like?
Palm rat droppings are dark banana-shaped pellets. They are usually about a ½ inch long.
How do you control a palm rat infestation?
Since these rats are excellent climbers, make sure to pay special attention to the roof of your home where you can seal any potential entryways. Using concrete, steel wool, or metal will help keep them out in the first place. Remove any vines or ivy that may be covering your home. This will make it more difficult for these rats to climb and enter the structure.
Eliminating their food sources is also key, so storing your snacks in airtight containers will not only help you keep your food fresh, but it will also discourage them from raiding your cabinets. It also helps to trim your shrubbery and trees. This removes potential shelters for the rats, further discouraging nesting.
Frightening them away with sound devices may work for a short period of time. However, these rats easily adapt to their surroundings, so they will grow accustomed to the noise and eventually return. The same is true for visual repellents. If your palm rat problem becomes severe, contact a professional pest control company that will have access to a wider variety of solutions.
Benefits of Professional Palm Rat Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a palm rat problem. Finding and treating the palm rats can be challenging, especially if it is a big infestation and they have nested deep within your home. A pest management professional has the expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the palm rat infestation.