Can Rats Climb Walls?

Rats are far from being rare – quite the opposite, actually; they’re pretty common worldwide. It’s for that reason that so many solutions have been available to keep rats out of homes, from rat traps to poison. Despite that, sometimes it feels like rats have their own ways; it’s like the issue is never-ending.

We all know that rats can creep in through cracks, holes, or even drains, but even when those are blocked, they still manage to get in. So naturally, the question begs itself, can rats climb walls? The short answer is yes, rats can climb walls, and let us tell you more.

How Well Do Rats Climb?

Rats can climb almost any surface, and they do so perfectly well. They were created like that by nature, and they tend to be extremely resourceful. Thanks to their relatively small sizes and their climbing capabilities, they can squeeze themselves in even the smallest places.

Also, did you know that they can hold their breath for around half an hour? That certainly helps them in areas with barely any oxygen, or even in water. They’re among the most flexible animals you’ll come across.

Moreover, rat feet have paws and pads, which come in handy when they’re trying to cling on to surfaces, be it walls, bricks, trees, concrete, stones, or any other climbing surface. They also don’t just climb – they jump, stretch, and hang as well. In other words, they’re persistent, and when they enter your home, they don’t intend on leaving.

Types of Rats That Are Known to Be Good Climbers

While most rats are quite excellent climbers, some species are more skilled in climbing than others. Among the leading rats in this area include roof rats and Norway rats. 

Roof rats, also known as black rats or ship rats, are known for their ability to build nests above the ground rather than under it. They’re black to light brown in color with a relatively light underside, large eyes and ears, a pointed nose, and long scaly tails.

As for Norway rats, also referred to as brown rats, street rats, or common rats, are commonly found in buildings’ lower structures, and they’re excellent in climbing pipes, rough walls, trees, wires, and buildings. Surprisingly, they’re color blind with relatively poor vision, and they’re brown or grey in color.

What Surfaces Can Rats Climb?

Technically anything you can think of. Being the excellent climbers that they are, they’re able to use that skill for their own benefit and start creating their own networks that can’t be seen by the naked eye.

When it comes to homes, rats usually climb up and downpipes, between gas struts, lift supports, high cracks, vents, dunts, walls, crawl spaces, poorly sealed windows, and almost any other surface possible. The only exceptions to this rule are smooth surfaces, like glass surfaces, for instance. Interior walls are also a challenge for them to penetrate.

However, on the other hand, rough surfaces like pebbles, concrete, wood, drywall, or bricks are ideal for their paws to clasp on. That’s especially so when cracks, missing shingles, holes (even if they’re the size of a nickel), and the likes are involved – you can even hear the rats’ scratching and gnawing as they chew on the surfaces while finding their way in.

Tip: Rats also take advantage of damp and warm areas as well as dirt floors, like concrete floors, crawl spaces, spaces under doors, or stone walls. They seek areas where they feel protected from the elements, far from homeowners’ eyesight, and at the same time are near to food supplies (like garbage bins).

How High Can Rats Climb?

Super high! That’s mainly because they’re able to leap both vertically and horizontally. Vertically, they’re able to hop around 36 inches, while horizontally, they can do so for approximately 48 inches. So, if there’s a tree near your house (like 4 feet), they can climb it and then jump to your roof and through the walls.

Not to mention, they survive tremendous falls up to 50 feet. So, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. 

What Can Rats Not Climb?

Put simply; they can’t climb anything smooth-running or slick. They need to be able to grab to the surface with their paws; otherwise, they won’t be able to climb it. For example, a plastic sheet or a laminate base wall are among the things that rats won’t be able to climb. Anything slippery is a no-no for them. Even tiles, especially small ones, are hard for them to navigate.

Can Rats Climb Into Your Bed?

Unfortunately, yes. Beds aren’t really challenging for rats. The good part is that they won’t be encouraged to do so unless they see something that grabs their attention (AKA: food or even leftovers.) That’s especially so if your bed frame is made out of wood since wood is substantial and can be grasped onto easily with their paws.

Sheets make it harder for them, though, so make sure that your bed sheet isn’t falling off to eliminate chances of them being able to make their way up.

Can Rats Climb Through Windows?

If there are gaps around your windows or cracks, rats can easily make their way through the windows and inside your house, which is why you must seal any openings and block any holes all the time. You also want to fill in any gaps with material that rats can’t eat or chew, like cement. They’re able to chew on steel, for example.

And to be on the safe side, always make sure your windows are closed anyway and keep checking for any holes you may not be seeing. Remember that the holes don’t have to be huge for rats to be able to get in – they get in through even the smallest holes. 


In a nutshell, yes, rats can climb walls – and anything else for that matter. The entryways they’re able to discover are endless, and their hiding abilities are just out of this world. Accordingly, always keep an eye out for rat presence signs, especially that they sometimes nest inside walls.