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Old 01-22-2011, 08:36 PM
 
429 posts, read 1,069,454 times
Reputation: 241
Default roof rats or squirrels?

We have some kind of animals in our attic. We tried to catch them with a trap from the city (no luck). We put in a ton of poison and it is mainly untouched, except for one we found outside (apparently the rodents threw it out!?). We haven't found any holes chewed anywhere, but we did cover an opening from the detached garage that led through the covered walkway to the kitchen.

I hear them running around up there in a section of the attic we can't get to- it's the little roof overhang kind-of between our first and second floor (if that makes sense). It's driving me crazy. Recently I watched an episode of hoarders where the guy had 2500 pet rats and all I can think about are thousands of rats overtaking my attic.

1) How do I know if they are rats or squirrels?
2) What else can we do?

PS- We have never seen anything, nor can we find any droppings (but again, we can't get to the main part where they seem to hang out).
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:48 PM
 
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They are most likely roof rats, which are common in the Sun Belt. Had that issue while I tended my grandparents' house in Florida for awhile, bless their souls.

I had to pay attention to what animals were around. Then one night, as I returned from work, I saw three rats strolling along a ledge atop the garage door. I saw their entry and path toward the car port (which my grandpa set up long ago) to access the trees.

Won't touch poison? Rats know what that is, extremely intelligent as they are. They are very, very careful of what they eat. They also catalog what is new in their environment. I've had pet rats...and indeed, they are great problem solvers, whether roof rats or basement rats (two different species of rattus).

Maybe one rat in the colony or group ate poison, died...yes, rats definitely learn from that. And it's not good to use poison because they can potentially die anywhere, not be located for awhile, then decompose causing different problems.

Rats also "sense" death of their littermates that they sniff in the snaptraps (certain hormones are released in violent death)...and will in the future avoid them.

It's odd that you don't find droppings but they tend to soil a particular location. At my grandparents', I noticed that they had particular pathways, such as the attic ducts, and saw some droppings.

Just as I was about to proactively take care of the rat issue at my grandparents with Havaheart traps, I left to return to Houston. I almost caught one but I forgot to place a latch properly and it got away. Just as I was about to learn from that, I had to pack up and go.

Havahearts are humane. You can release them far, far away upon capture. The only real thing to do is try and fully insulate the attic. Use hard mesh (roof rats are not at all powerful chewers like basement rats) or such. Then there's the good old exterminator if all else fails.

My mom got a roofer to plug up the holes that I suspected were the entries. But when I visited the house a year later, I noticed the rats up there running around again.

Roof rats (rattus rattus) are not so fierce or aggressive like the basement or sewer rats (rattus norvegicus). They just like to nest up top and snatch berries and oranges or whatever they can find in the trees. But yeah, they shouldn't be up in your attic. I didn't like it when the rats ate up the oranges!

Good luck.

Last edited by worldlyman; 01-22-2011 at 09:58 PM..
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:00 PM
Status: "Character is what you do when no one is looking..." (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
20,116 posts, read 19,843,115 times
Reputation: 45388
Hmmm... I would say - squirrels. When they run, they make pretty fast, loud tap-tap-tap noise. I think that the rats noise is not quite so loud.
Rats make squeaking noises, whistles and chirps. Where ever rats are they will also leave evidence by droppings or gnawing marks. Rat dropping sizes range from ’’-’’in in length. Tracks can also be left behind by rats in muddy or dusty surfaces.

Check if you can find any droppings. Squirrel droppings are round, rat is long. See here:
http://www.pestcontrol-products.com/...rrel_facts.htm

Put some flour on the floor, and check for tracks





If you want to know more, please read here:
http://www.pestmall.com/blog/bed-bugs-pages

Hope it helps

Last edited by elnina; 01-22-2011 at 10:26 PM..
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:42 PM
 
819 posts, read 1,077,338 times
Reputation: 1013
Quote:
Originally Posted by elnina View Post
Hmmm... I would say - squirrels. When they run, they make pretty fast, loud tap-tap-tap noise. I think that the rats noise is not quite so loud.
Rats make squeaking noises, whistles and chirps. Where ever rats are they will also leave evidence by droppings or gnawing marks. Rat dropping sizes range from ’’-’’in in length. Tracks can also be left behind by rats in muddy or dusty surfaces.

Check if you can find any droppings. Squirrel droppings are round, rat is long. See here:
Squirrel Control with Squirrel Repellants & squirrel traps

Put some flour on the floor, and check for tracks





If you want to know more, please read here:
Bed Bugs Pages | PestMall Blog

Hope it helps
They were pretty thumpy and tap-tap up in my grandparents' attic. I thought they were squirrels at first too...

(That's a cute domesticated rat in the pic. Reminds me of my powder blue rat, Rick...R.I.P.)
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:39 AM
 
Location: The Greater Houston Metro Area
6,922 posts, read 6,983,725 times
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elnina,
Now that I have seen the tracks - I am pretty sure I have a moose in my attic.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:54 AM
Status: "Character is what you do when no one is looking..." (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
20,116 posts, read 19,843,115 times
Reputation: 45388
^^^ to be absolutely sure - check the droppings!
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:06 AM
 
Location: The Greater Houston Metro Area
6,922 posts, read 6,983,725 times
Reputation: 7626
Quote:
Originally Posted by elnina View Post
^^^ to be absolutely sure - check the droppings!
LOL - yeah - a little bigger than a cow pattie. I think it's a moose. Makes a lot of noise, too.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:14 AM
Status: "Character is what you do when no one is looking..." (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
20,116 posts, read 19,843,115 times
Reputation: 45388
^^^ FYI: Dr. Jungle says, "We don't recommend a moose as a pet!"
"There are a few challenges with a moose as a pet. Besides having a voracious appetite, it is a huge job to clean up after them!"
http://animal-world.com/encyclo/featured_pets/Dummies_pets/Midge_Moose/MidgeMoose.htm (broken link)
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:08 AM
 
3,618 posts, read 2,803,132 times
Reputation: 2125
Ike caused some relocation of the wild life in my neighbor. Someone noticed movement on the side if my house, took out his flashlight and saw rats going up the side. I called the exterminator. They put peanut butter laced traps , huge ones, all in the attic. They sealed everything they could find. The rats can get through anything smaller than a quarter. There was no sign of droppings. No trap ever snapped. I was told that the rats will lay done a trail so others can follow. If you put poison and they go outside to find water, you might also kill big birds and the neighbor's pet. My behind neighbor got raccoons. They made a mess.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Houston (Memorial) and Western NC
8,801 posts, read 14,372,567 times
Reputation: 3934
If I find Moose or Bear tracks around my house, I'm leaving.
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