Roof rats invade Valley neighborhoods


by Jaime Cerreta

Bio | Email | Follow: @CerretaNews

Posted on February 15, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Updated Sunday, Feb 16 at 2:45 PM

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- What's the tell-tale sign that roof rats have moved into your home?

Steve Greenhalgh of Arizona Pest Prevention says it's hollowed-out orange peels left in your yard.

"The roof rat itself will actually hollow the fruit out from the skin of the actual piece of orange," he explained. "All of the fruit will be gone and what's left is the shell."

While roof rats particularly love oranges, they also feed on other citrus fruit like grapefruit and lemons.

Greenhalgh said lately he's received roughly a dozen calls a day about roof rats.

"Folks listen to them running and scratching and fighting and all of these different noises that they make," he said.

Roof rats first showed up in Arcadia in 2002 and have since worked their way around the Valley. Only Gilbert, Apache Junction and Queen Creek seem to be unaffected.

"I think a lot of times these roof rats are simply transported, perhaps on the back ends of trailers or trucks," Greenhalgh said.

They're 8 to 14 inches long and can weigh about 1 pound.

The critters will get into a home through any crevice they can find, from the vents in your roof to the nooks in your attic.

To prevent a roof rat problem, Greenhalgh recommends securing those spaces and keeping your yard clean of thick brush.