furry intruders

Furry Intruders: Arizona Rats & Mice

If you live in Arizona, you already know about the infamous Bark Scorpion. The runner-up, in many cases, is the Black Widow. And termites are also a big problem for some Phoenix residents.

But there’s another Arizona pest that deserves a spot on our list of obnoxious home invaders; the Roof Rat.

These nocturnal little pests are anything but cute. Roof rats contaminate and consume stored food, rip up insulation, chew on wiring, and carry diseases such as leptospirosis, murine typhus, salmonellosis, and rat-bite fever. Roof rats have earned their name from an obsession with building nests in home attics.

“One of the best ways to prevent rats and mice from entering your home is to seal it up.”

The most distinctive feature of a roof rat is its long tail, which is significantly longer than the rest of its body. They are blackish in color with lighter-colored underbellies. They’re also agile little suckers when spotted. Good luck catching one!

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Other Common Arizona Rodents

The Pack Rat

Don’t be fooled by his adorable appearance; the Arizona pack rat is a pint-sized nightmare. They like to nest in attics, wood piles, and even in the engine compartment of your vehicle—often causing thousands of dollars of damage! They carry diseases and parasites and can attract spiders, scorpions, fleas, and ticks.

The House Mouse

Another inconspicuous (and annoying) rodent is the domestic house mouse. They aren’t known for causing a tremendous amount of damage, but they can multiply quickly in the right environment. These little vermin only need a crack the size of a dime to get into your home. One obvious sign of an infestation is fecal droppings.

How to Prevent Roof Rats

1. Seal your home

One of the best ways to prevent rats and mice from entering your home is to seal it up. The average homeowner doesn’t have the materials or time to sufficiently seal their home. A house mouse, for instance, only needs a quarter-inch crack to squeeze through. At the very least, it’s good to make notes of all the possible points of entry to share with your pest professional.

2. Clean up your property

It’s important to keep your property well maintained. Roof rats are attracted to food and water, so keeping your pet’s food indoors and out of reach is a good idea.

Roof rats (and other rodents) like to build nests, so removing clutter from around your home and in the attic is wise.

Roof rats are also drawn to vegetation, so you’ll do well to remove any weeds and grass cuttings from around your home.

3. Trapping and Baiting

While trapping and baiting should be reserved for professionals, some people like to go at it themselves. That’s fine, but there are a few things to consider before doing so.

First, let’s talk about the difference between trapping and baiting.


Trapping is the preferred method for indoor rodent control. There are advantages to trapping as compared to baiting. Trapping doesn’t require the use of toxic poisons. Trapping also eliminates odor problems by allowing you to dispose of the rat cadaver before it decomposes and smells your home up.

Be sure to also choose the appropriate size traps. For instance, using a mouse trap to catch a rat is not only a bad idea but a waste of time.


Baiting is another method for eliminating rodents. This course of treatment is okay when you’re dealing with larger, outdoor populations. We like to use bait boxes when baiting for rodents. They are designed to keep small pets and children out. Bait boxes also minimize transference, meaning, it won’t affect wildlife that might feed on the dead rodent.

When baiting, be sure to use child and pet-safe brands.


We’ve been at this for a long time—for over two decades—and we’ve seen just about every scenario. If you have the time, diligence, and know how to battle your rodent problem yourself, then, by all means, go for it. But for pennies more, we’ll do the job for you—in less time . . . and we’ll even guarantee our work.

Let us do the dirty work so you can spend your spare time doing the things you love, rather than dealing with furry little freeloaders.

We provide pest control services for Anthem, Ahwatukee, Avondale, Buckeye, Carefree, Cave Creek, Chandler, El Mirage, Glendale, Goodyear, Laveen, Litchfield Park, Mesa, New River, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise, Tempe, and Tolleson.

Urban Desert Pest Control (602) 399-9629