Roof rats are smaller than Norway rats and are more common in coastal states and seaports.
They have rather poor vision and are color blind; but their senses of hearing, smell, touch and taste are keenly developed. Touch is via their long whiskers. They are good runners, climbers, jumpers and swimmers. They will feed on seeds, meat, fish and grains. Rats will travel between 100-150 feet from their nest for food and water.
Rats are primarily nocturnal in habit and they are cautious. They shy away from new objects and changes. Outdoors, they prefer to nest in higher places like trees, but may be found in burrows or under vegetation around the structure. Indoors, their preference is upper parts of structures and occasionally basements and sewers.
The disease most commonly thought of involving rats is the plague, which is transmitted via fleas leaving an infected rat and attacking man. Recently, the plague has started to appear in several areas throughout the United States. A case involving a man in Oregon was reported just last summer of 2018.