Can Rats Climb up the Outside of Buildings? {Can Rats Climb Smooth Walls?}

I’m sure you know that rats can climb, but can rats climb up the outside of buildings? What if there are glass, metal or smooth surfaces? Will rats vertically scale smooth walls or will they find another way around?

Find out why nearby trees, and the oversight of placing clutter or materials leaning against homes can assist these climbing rodents.

In this article, we will discover and discuss, “Can Rats Climb up the Outside of Buildings?”

Can Rats Climb up the Outside of Buildings?

Yes. Rats and plenty of other rodents are adapted to climb multiple surfaces including the exterior of your home. They can leap 48 inches horizontally from surrounding shrubs or tree branches to reach your eaves or roof.

Rats can also climb aboard anything resting against the side of your home and jump up 36 inches to gain a foothold on the side of your wall. You can deter or catch them by using wall guards, metal sheets bands, glass and bait traps.

How Well Do Rats Climb?

Rats are some of the best climbing creatures. They are not able to stick onto surfaces with suction-like paws compared to geckos or insects, but they have incredible grip and strong claws.

Rats migrated around the world by climbing aboard ships. It takes a rat seconds to scale the walls of your house. They could zig-zag and shimmy up pipes, gain footholds on boxes, wires, eaves or jump across tree branches to reach your home.

What Kinds of Walls Can Rats Climb?

Rats need some texture on the wall if there is nothing else to hold onto while climbing. They will try to find any crack, items or adjacent objects such as a trees to jump aboard your wall when the base of the wall is too smooth. They can’t climb up smooth glass or metal.

Rats can easily run up textured, rough or aging:

  • Concrete
  • Brick
  • Wood
  • Sheet Metal
  • Plastic
  • Stucco
  • Drywall

Stopping a rat from climbing involves eliminating any foothold, debris, trimming or pruning vegetation and perhaps using glass or physical deterrents such as bait traps or foul odors that resemble predator urine.

What Makes Rats Such Good Climbers

Rats have the ability to climb better than most animals. They are advantaged in the following areas:

  • Claws and pads that grip well
  • 5 phalanges (fingers) that are sharp
  • Microscopic dermal ridges to increase friction
  • Tails that balance themselves or wrap around cords and wires
  • Excellent leaping ability (36 inches vertical and 48 inches horizontal)
  • They can survive falls up to 50 feet.

The skills and innate abilities of these pesky rodents allows them to gain access to plenty of locations. Not only that, rats can squeeze and fit through the tiniest of openings.

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How To Stop Rats Climbing Walls

You have to use your time and patience before making that dreaded phone call to a pest removal company. You know it can get expensive, but it might be worth it. Before resorting to outside professional help, let’s see what we can do:

  • Make sure there are no cracks or gaps around garage doors.
  • Caulk seams
  • Plug holes
  • Inspect the roof
  • Check the eaves (A half inch hole is all it takes for a rat to squeeze through.)
  • Check for gaps in the fascia
  • Loose fascia boards
  • Rotten wood
  • Damaged vents
  • Loose shingles
  • Chewed or clawed marks
  • Greasy track marks
  • Rat droppings

If you have a chimney, but do not use your fireplace, place a chimney cap on it. You can use steel mesh wiring on the chimney as well.

Can Rats Climb the Side of a Building?

Yes. Rats can climb and burrow like the best of them. They can leap across great distances as well. Rats can find footholds where you think there aren’t any.

They can use pipes, utility boxes and surrounding vegetation to get up building walls. Rats climb tall apartment buildings when they are motivated by warmth, shelter and possible food sources. They can shimmy up drain pipes and dart up walls in a flash.

How Do I Keep Rats From Climbing My Walls?

Here’s an idea. Look to see if the side of your walls can support sheet metal bands. You can look into rodent guards that are 36 inches above the ground level.

This is to prevent rats jumping up this distance that they can easily do. Installing these wall guards can stop rats from climbing. If there is a tree next to the house, you can wrap around the sheet metal bands to stop rats from getting up to the branches.

This way they won’t be able to leap across the branches and land on your home or the side of it where they can gain foothold on a window, wire or pipe. These rodents are resilient and can handle a fall of 50 feet, get back up and try again.

Can Rats Run Up Outside Walls?

Yes. Rats are great climbers and are able to vertically climb walls on the exterior of your home. If the wall is textured and rough it will be easier for a ride to be able to climb up the walls.

Rats are also excellent swimmers. They can find ways to get through the pipes and find out how to reach your home through the plumbing. Rats can also enter from your toilet bowl.

Can Rats Squeeze Under Doors?

Yes. Rats are easily able to flatten their rib cages and squeeze through small gaps under doors. This is why it’s important to place strips underneath the bottom of the door such as excluders and door stoppers.

They should be made of metal or hard rubber. Do you have any flaps for your pets to get through such as your cat or dog?  A rat can also push its way through that too.

How Long Does It Take for a Rat to Chew Through a Wall?

A rat would have to be highly motivated to continue chewing through a wall. It all depends on the type of material used to build this wall. If the wall is thin and soft, made of plywood or drywall it could take from anywhere from 2 hours to 1 week.

A wooden wall would also allow for a rat to be able to chew through it as well. A rat has to be motivated by the potential for warmth, food and shelter on the other side of this wall. They have a strong sense of smell and might be able to sense if there is food available on the other side.

It could take them anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to be able to get through this wall. If they are unseen, they will be diligent and continue doing this work without you noticing.

Can Rats Climb Through Windows?

Yes. If a window is open or even a crack is available around the seals of the window a rat can use its sharp claws and flatten its rib cage to to work its way through. Rats are also able to climb:

  • latticework
  • vines
  • bushes
  • a nearby tree
  • a downspout

Once they do so, they are able to access windows that are open slightly. Rats can leap up to 48 inches horizontally from a surface to jump across and gain access to your window.

Window screens should be made of steel mesh wiring to deter a rat from being able to get through it.

Can Rats Climb Smooth Walls?

If a wall is smoothly made of sheet metal or glass is going to be difficult for a rat to be able to climb up. Although rats are efficient climbers, they would need some sort of texture or footholds to be able to continue scaling upwards.

If not,  they will find another way up. They can find their way through wiring or create foot holes by using their teeth. A rat can also climb up another surface next to a smooth wall until they find a way to hold on to it.

This means that if there’s a tree or surrounding shed and debris nearby that a rat can climb up that first. Once successful, a rat can easily jump across.

Rat Proof Your Home

Rat proofing a home will involve a lot of work and maybe some professional advice as well. You need to remove the access to your home by checking out the foundation and searching for any cracks or holes.

You want to eliminate any burrows as well. Rats are able to climb trees and hide in areas that are cluttered. You have to reduce shrubbery and hedges by pruning or trimming.

Nests and Burrows can be hidden inside dense vegetation or underneath it. Overall, there needs to be a presence of bait traps around the property if you have a rat infestation concern. A professional consultation will help determine the extent of the needs that you require to eliminate the rat problem around your home.


Thanks for visiting for the best information to help you to make the pest control process easy, safe & affordable.

Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable