Is There A Rat Or Possum In Your Roof? (8 Ways To Tell)

All types of animals have had to start living closer to humans, some even choose to live on our property and in our roofs. Knowing what animals are living with you can help with figuring out how to get rid of them. So, how do you figure out if a rat or a possum is living in your roof? This article looks into it

Rats and possums are different in size and make different noises, rats are lighter and faster and they scurry around in your roof, possums move slowly and make thumping sounds as they move. Rats will squeak, and possums will grunt and screech

Is there a rat or possum in your roof?


Rats and possums differ in size and thus, how they move will be different.

Rats are quite lightweight animals, even adult rats aren’t heavy, because of this, they can move quite quickly. If you hear light scurrying noises coming from your roof, then the animal up there is likely a rat.

Possums are heavier than rats, even baby possums can be heavy, these animals will be louder on their feet than rats and thump when they walk around. They will also move slower than rats

Rats are generally more active and run around more than possums do, thus you will hear more activity in the roof if there are rats living in it.

Also, because rats are lightweight, they will jump around leaping from location to location. You will hear the occasional thud on your roof when rats do this, possums don’t jump around

Gnawing Noises

Both of these animals make gnawing noises when living in your roof. Because rats have teeth that are always growing, they constantly need to gnaw on objects in order to maintain their front teeth so that they don’t grow out of control.

If you hear frequent gnawing sounds in your roof then you likely have rats.

Possums will gnaw but do not need to gnaw as much as rats do. They do gnaw in order to maintain their teeth, but they do this less so than rats.


Both of these animals need to communicate in some way. If you have possums in your roof, the males will make loud throaty calls to each other. Other sounds that possums make include clicking their teeth, hissing, grunting, screeching, and teeth chattering.

Noises that rats make include squealing, gnawing, scratching, hissing, and chattering

Response to you 

Both of these animals are quite timid creatures but rats are more cautious when compared to possums. If you make a noise in your house, the possums will stop making a noise for a moment and then go back to doing what they were doing.

If you make noise and there are rats in your roof, they will stop for a long while before going back to what they were doing

Apple test 

This is an effective and easy way to figure out which animals are living in your roof. The apple test involves leaving an apple in your roof overnight, how the apple is eaten by the next day will determine which animal is up there.

Rats will only gnaw on the apple, they are smaller so are their teeth. If rats eat the apple, you’ll notice small bite marks on the fruit the next day. On the other hand, possums will eat more of the apple and take bigger bites.


These two animals poop differently from each other. If you get up to your roof and you can’t see any animals, their poop can give them away.

Because rats move around, their droppings will be all over the place. Possums are more intentional and will poop in small clusters close to where they sleep


Because of their different sizes, the volume of their urine will differ. Rats and mice do not create a lot of urine, possums create a lot of urine and this higher volume of urine, and larger stains on your roof, will be a telltale sign that you have possums in the house

Thermal imaging  

If you have access to thermal imaging technology, then this will be very helpful in figuring out if you have possums or rats in your roof. This is also a very, easy, fast, and reliable way to detect what animals are up there


Both of these animals may be in your roof and because of this, you may be hearing a variety of sounds in the roof.

If this is the case, the two animals will likely fight with each other, they will both make noises when they fight but rats will make a higher-pitched squealing noise than possums.

These animals will fight over territory in your roof.

How do I get rid of rats and possums in my roof? 

One very effective way to get rid of rats and possums in your roof is to trap and release them.

Doing this will ensure that these animals are caught in a humane way and releasing them ensures that you do not get in trouble with the law for killing them. Make sure that trapping and releasing these animals is legal in your area 

Another very effective way to get rid of these animals is to contact and hire your local pest control company. Pest control will be able to remove the animal without exposing themselves to diseases, they will also be able to remove any animals that you may have missed.

Is it bad to have a rat or possum in your roof? 

Although some people don’t mind having either rats or possums in their roofs, this can be dangerous.

Not only can these animals chew through your insulation, wires, and structures, but they can also carry and transmit a variety of diseases to you.

If they die in the roof, then their decomposing corpses can be a health hazard and can stink up your house


In conclusion, figuring out whether you have rats or possums on your roof will entail keeping an eye on their poop, their urine, how they react to you making a noise in the house, their movement, their communication, the result of the apple test, and if you have access to it, thermal imaging

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other rat related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: How to tell if a pet rat likes you, 13 signs to look out for, Lost pet rat? Steps to finding your rat both inside and outside the house, What to do with a dead rat in the garden? A thorough guide, Rats in roof? 6 sounds to listen out for to confirm

Is There A Rat Or Possum In Your Roof? (8 Ways To Tell)
Scroll to top