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(Memphis) The sound of footsteps on the roof this winter season probably isn’t reindeer, but rather roof rats.

A Mid-South pest management company says it’s seeing a huge increase in the pesky rodents.

Suburbs like Germantown are seeing huge spikes in calls year to year.

What do you get when a mild summer follows after a warm winter?

Pest experts say perfect mating conditions for rats.

“They make a lot of them, 30 or 40 per year,” said Lanier James with James Pest Management.

However, as colder temperatures move in so do rats, according to James.

He says the rats will seek warmth in the attic and walls of your home.

“The roof rat lives in trees, lives in vines, they’ll live in vines,” he said. “They love to go in voids of that nature. They get in some unique situations in home.”

James says homeowners get unnerved when a rat dies, filling a house with smell of decay, but ripping down walls to remove a dead rat can be expensive.  

James recommends using Tap-a-Drop to mask the smell.

He says the stench should only last for three to five days.

However, James believes homeowners should take measures to keep rats out in the first place by cutting trees and vines back away from your home, as well as patching any holes you may find, even holes as small as a quarter.

No matter what, James says get the rats out, even if that means calling in a professional, “The biggest thing about rats is not only are they nasty and they contaminate your food source, they carry diseases too.”