Rats like any other Morris County rodent have front teeth that continuously grow so they need to constantly chew to wear the teeth down to the level they want them at. Can they chew through the plasterboard drywall that most ceilings are made of, easily, their front teeth have been known to chew holes right through things is hard cinderblocks so a piece of drywall sheeting will not slow them down for more than a short space of time but you may ask, why would a rat chew through either a ceiling or a wall, the usual answer is that the rat detected food on the other side of the ceiling or the wall.
New Jersey rats actually like to live in wall and roof spaces, probably their favorite place to live is in the space between the first and second story of a two-story house or if there is no second story and you have an attic then the space between the attic and the main living area is just as nice. This type of set up is also where they like to live in commercial buildings but in commercial buildings the ceilings are usually made of roof tiles so setting traps for them is easy, you just prime the trap then lift a tile up and slide the trap on top of the next tile, then wait to see what happens.
Most professionals say it is very difficult to remove Morris County rats who are already living in your ceiling if your house does not have a proper attic, most homes have a space between the interior ceiling of a room and the actual roof which is the outside shell, if this is the case that is where to set your traps. If the house has no crawlspace or attic and there is only a very small area between the roof and the drywall which is the ceiling of the rooms you live in, then you will have a hard time conducting a successful trapping campaign as there is going to be a lot of places you just cannot get to that the rats can. That said there is actually one way to get to any part of the inside of the roof and that is of course to lift the roof off from outside but this is generally not considered a good way to set about a rat trapping campaign.
Generally if New Jersey rats chew through either a ceiling or a wall they will do it aimed directly at the reason why they're coming through the wall, this is nearly always food that they can smell actually through the wall and they will chew through as close as possible to that smell so that means a hole chewed through your ceiling by a rat could be anywhere at any time.
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