Get rid of rats and keep them from coming back

Palm Rats: What Are They and How to Get Rid of Them?

Palm rats or palm tree rats are extremely common in Florida and the US Gulf Coast and can cause extensive damage to your attic if they are not dealt with quickly.


There are two types of rats called “Palm Rats” but we are only concerned about one of them.  The species that actually deserves this name is the “Rattus palmarum“.  However, this species only exists on two remote islands in India and is actually listed as an endangered species.

The species that you are dealing with is actually the common black rat, also known as a roof rat, fruit rat or tree rat.  As you might have guessed by their other common names, black rats are spectacular climbers and will readily nest in trees.

Palm tree rats Florida live for about one year and weigh around half a pound.  These rats are smaller than sewer rats and are about the same size as woodrats.

So now that you know what these rodents are the big question is what to do about them.

If you have a palm tree within three feet of your roofline then it will be easy for these rodents to jump from the tree onto your roof.  If the openings on your roof are not properly sealed then the rats will gladly move into your attic.  Any vent on your roof that has an unobstructed opening of over half an inch is an open door into your home.

Once you have palm rats in your attic they will proceed to chew insulation and wiring, poop all over the place, and make scurrying sounds that will drive you crazy in the early morning hours.  In general, the rats will stay in the attic but will occasionally move into the walls of your home.

Ignoring the problem will not work.  These things will not go away on their own.  Instead, they will find your attic to be a perfect nesting spot to breed and a single female rat can produce nearly 1000 baby rats over the course of a year.

Fixing the problem takes a little work but is not that hard in the end.  The whole process has three main steps:

  1. Kill the rats in your attic
  2. Do home maintenance to keep the rats from getting back in.
  3. Do yard maintenance to make your property less attractive to rats in the first place.

The following short video shows that fruit rats Florida can make a perfect nest in the crown of a palm tree. The video is in Spanish but you don’t really need to understand what they are saying to see what the rats have been up to.