The Roof Rat is often restricted to the indoors of a property and to area around seaports. While norway rates are very suited to rural life, where burrowins is advantageous, roof rats tend to be more restricted to city life, where their excellent climbing abilities avail them of numerous nesting sites often in the upper parts of tall buildings. This ability also facilitates their crossing from one building to another via connecting cables. Within buildings, roof rats are likely to nest in wall and roof voids, but they may range and feed freely all over the building. Outdoor they may nest among vines and trees, but they seldom burrow. They are also known as ship rats because they commonly infest ships.
Fully grown adults have fine fur that can be grey, black or brown in colour, weigh approximately 260 grams they are poor swimmers, but proficient climbers and generally live within a 40-50 metre range. Although roof rats are usually described as being omnivorous, in practice they seem to consume high proportions of vegetable and fruit material, consuming on average 15-22 grams of food and 15-22 mls of water a day. However, where they have ready access to foods with high moisture content it is likely that they have a much reduced need for free water.
The roof rat can live in somewhat similar locations to to those preferred by the norway rat; but if territories overlap, it is likely that the roof rat will be driven out.
The third and final species of rodent is the Norway Rat and it is the largest of all.