McKinney homeowners have plenty to worry about in terms of home maintenance, repairs, and pests. Out of all of these, one problem that you shouldn’t ignore is roof rats. 

Roof rats invade attics and rooflines, searching for food, water, and security. Not only can these rodents cause property damage, but they can also spread dangerous diseases to you and your family. 

Knowing how to spot the early signs of a roof rat problem can help you avoid the risks that come with them. 

McKinney Roof Rat Identification Guide

Roof rats are also known as black rats or ship rats. More formally, they are called Rattus Linnaeus.

These rats may be native to Southeast Asia, but they’re found all over the world. Their appearance is distinct, alongside their excellent climbing abilities.

Roof rats are sometimes mistaken for house mice. Roof rats have smooth, soft fur with a dark, blackish color. One of the most distinguishable features of the roof rat is their grey-white underbelly. 

Also similar to house mice, roof rats have sharp features with a pointed nose, long tail, large ears, and big eyes. They are much larger, though. They grow to be between eight and six inches and around 12 ounces. 

Signs of Roof Rats

Roof rats love to construct their nests in attics. Not only are they low-traffic areas, but they’re dark, warm, and typically jam-packed with junk. A hole as small as a quarter gives these pests instant access to your attic. 

Keep an eye out for the following signs that may indicate a roof rat problem. 


Droppings are always a sure sign of some kind of rodent infestation. Roof rats leave droppings and urine everywhere they go, creating an unmistakable smell. 


Baby roof rats burrowed in their nest

Anywhere there’s a roof rat, there’s bound to be a nest nearby. Like other rodents, roof rats build their nests in homes. You may find piles of soft debris, such as fabric, paper, and insulation, wadded up into nests. 

A key sign of a rat nest is droppings found near or in the debris pile. 


If roof rats are nesting in your attic, you’ll likely hear them. These unique sounds include the pitter-patter of tiny feet, particularly at nighttime. You may also hear chewing sounds and the rustling of nesting materials. 

Problems Linked with Roof Rats in McKinney, TX

Roof rats in McKinney are far more than unwelcomed squatters. An infestation in your home can lead to some serious problems, such as the ones listed below. 

Structural Damage 

Roof rats are just like other rats in that their teeth never stop growing. Because of this, these pests constantly chew on everything, from wooden posts to wires. 

A rat’s chewing can lead to some severe structural damage on things like siding, pipes, drywall, vents, shingles, and live wires. And what’s more, damaged wires can even lead to electrical fires. 

Health Risk 

Like other rodents and insects, roof rats spread dangerous diseases and parasites to your family and your pets. Their presence in your home puts you at risk for hantavirus, leptospirosis, rabies, salmonella, and plague. 


The odor from a roof rat’s dirty body, urine, and droppings is unpleasant, but these things can also trigger asthma and allergy attacks for the people in your home. 

Additionally, a dead roof rat trapped in your home will begin to smell as time goes on. 

Roof Rat Prevention Guide

Close-up of a roof rat on a wooden beam

Roof rats can be hard to catch or spot due to their love of low-traffic locations such as attics, roofs, and masonry. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent them:

  • Keep all food secured in sturdy pantries and sealed containers. 
  • Keep up with routine landscape maintenance by trimming trees, shrubs, and vines near your roofline. 
  • Secure indoor trash cans and outdoor garbage bins with tight-fitting, chew-proof lids. 
  • Use a roof cap to cover your chimney. This allows smoke to come through but blocks out pests. 
  • Regularly check water sources for leaks to avoid standing water. 
  • Reach out to a professional pest control company as soon as you see the first rodent (preferably before).

Final Thoughts

Roof rats can be a nasty problem to deal with. Still, by taking simple steps such as eliminating food and water sources along with potential nesting materials, you can minimize the risk of getting them in your McKinney home. 

When pests become an issue, it’s always best to contact professionals. Reach out to Stampede’s pest experts today to control roof rats.