Every fall we begin to hear questions and complaints about damaged citrus fruit. The answer is often roof rats, also known as citrus rat, fruit rat, black rat, or gray rat. Rattus rattus is the worst and most abundant rodent pest in Florida. The cotton rat or palmetto rat is also found in our area. The Norway rat is rare in Florida.
The roof rat gets its name because they are an arboreal rat and spend most of their time above ground. They are native to southern Asia, and enjoy a tropical climate. They probably arrived here with the first Spanish explorers. When temperatures dip below 70 degrees they often seek shelter in attics or out-buildings. They are rarely seen during the day, but may be sighted at night running along electrical wires or roof rafters.
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