Roof Rats are taking over the Okanagan. They were imported to Penticton around 2009 and since then they have been found in Osoyoos and North of Kelowna. They are brown or black in color (most commonly black) and are roughly 40 centimeters in length. They are excellent climbers and can run up to 7 feet a second. Roof rats can chew through concrete. Their teeth never stop growing. They have excellent smell, taste, touch and hearing but poor eye sight and prefer to live up high in attics, drop ceilings, and trees. They will also live in walls or under the hood of vehicles. Roof rats will chew on electrical wires, which could cause a fire, and in new homes they will sometimes chew through PEX water pipes to get to the water. Roof rats are neophobic (scared of new things) and nocturnal. They will travel about 90 meters away from their nest to retrieve food and water always returning to their nest. Female roof rats will give birth to as many as 40 off spring each year. The gestation period of a roof rat is 22 days and sexual maturity is two to three months. They live up to 18 months.
Roof Rats should only be trapped by pest control professionals because they are neophobic and thus it is really easy to make the roof rats trap shy. Poison should never be used inside any structure. To control roof rats, it takes roughly two to seven days for poison to work and if the rat can’t be found after the poison takes effect, the home owner will experience a terrible smell for about a year and have a horrific fly infestation.