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Your common nuisance black rat is also known as the roof rat, so don’t be surprised if you see it on the roof. Actually, they’re called roof rats because they spend most of their time above ground, in trees, on power lines, and on roofs. But they don’t actually live on the roof, although they will frequently be seen up there. They’re just making their way to their real home, your attic.
Rats are creatures of habit, and they will stick to preset paths. For the trained eye, rat trails are easy to notice. Placing lethal snap traps on these trails is very likely to solve your rat problem, if you also follow the rest of the steps that come with efficient rat removal. But like I said, the rats don’t actually have any business on your roof, they probably live in your roof, or more likely, in your attic. You can set traps on the roof by bolting them down with metal screws, but if you respect the correct rat removal procedures, there’s no need to catch them on the roof. In addition, you might cause damage to your roof by drilling metal screws into it, and that’s not something you would want to risk doing.
If you’re concerned about the rats on your roof destroying shingles, I have yet to seen rats create this type of damage, so I think you’re safe. They will leave their droppings and urine up there, but it would take extremely large quantities of waste to produce damage to the structure of your roof. Nonetheless, rats shouldn’t be anywhere on your property, roof included. They must have a way of getting on the roof, probably by climbing on the exterior walls of your house. Make sure you’re not facilitating their access by not leaving tools, firewood piles or decorative objects leaned against or hanging down the walls. Smooth surface walls could also prevent rats from being able to climb up on the roof.
So, if you see a rat on the roof, that means you probably have more rats in your attic. Perform thorough home inspection and seal all the rat access points you discover. Then, proceed to installing a couple of lethal snap traps in your attic – check my other entries to see how to correctly handle and set these traps. Once all rats are trapped and disposed of, begin the decontamination process. Make sure you’re not welcoming rats to your property by leaving food sources at their disposal or by facilitating access. Suffice it to say, the other thing you can do if you see rats on your roof is to call a professional who deals with rat control, like one of the wildlife experts that are featured on the nationwide directory available on this website. For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does rat removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of rats - my main rat removal info guide.
Example rat trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Rat job blog - learn from great examples of rat jobs I've done.