What Can Rats NOT Climb? {Why Rats Are Great Climbers}

Are you wondering how rats have climbed up to the roof, into the attic, or in your apartment? What can rats not climb?

What makes rats such good climbers? How can we stop these rodents from climbing up our walls? Is it possible to spray repellent on walls to prevent rats from climbing them?

In this article, we will find out what can rats not climb.

What Can Rats Not Climb?

Rats will have a difficulty scaling and climbing smooth surfaces. They can’t grab a foothold on anything smooth and they will have to look elsewhere if they want to scale vertically. The surfaces below will usually prevent rats from climbing.

Smooth or Slick:

  • Glass
  • Tiles
  • Polished metal
  • Concrete

What Can’t Rats Climb?

Rats are going to be able to climb stone and brick unless they are extremely smooth. If there’s anything for them to grab onto, they will be able to climb up.

If the surface is too slick such as glass or tile, there are no footholds for a rat to be able to climb up. Some temporary solutions also involve applying lubricants and oils onto vertical surfaces to make sure that rats aren’t able to climb up. Wall guards or rat repellent tape on wires and pipes also help.

Can a Rat Climb Anything?

No. Although rats and mice are excellent climbers because they are rodents, climbing vertical walls that are smooth will be a difficulty.

They would look to find footholds for drain pipes because not only can they climb well, they are also excellent swimmers.

They can distribute their body weight between their forelimbs and maintain their grip on plenty of surfaces while they scurry up walls or diagonally across in many directions to reach their destination.

What Surfaces Can Rats Climb On?

It is safe to say that rats are incredible climbers. If there’s anything they can grab onto they will be able to climb. They are motivated by obtaining food or finding shelter. Trees, bricks, and stones are all easy for rats to climb.

It is important to make sure that we do not leave objects or even overgrown plants, shrubs and branches that would make it easy for rats to climb up next to our home.

This is why it’s important to trim, prune, clean and maintain a clear area around the perimeter of our home to prevent rats or other rodents from climbing up

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Why Are Rats Such Good Climbers?

Rats are excellent climbers because of the way that their hands, feet and tails allow them to shimmy, scurry or dart in directions that are horizontal, diagonal or vertical.

Their phalanges or fingers at the end of each hand gives them access to latch onto various surfaces. The textured skin on the pads of their hands also help them to increase their grip and friction with what they are holding onto.

They can wrap their limbs around:

  • Cables
  • Cords
  • Wires
  • Branches
  • Ropes
  • Pipes

They’re able to survive falls up to 15 meters, which removes the fear of heights when a rat is trying to safely reach a destination that provides shelter, warmth, and food.

How to Stop Rats From Climbing Your Walls

The best way to stop rats from climbing your walls is to have smooth surfaces that they cannot grab onto. Creating a wall that is lined with tiles would reduce any footholds for a rat to be able to climb.

Reducing the thickness and size of the grout hanging around the tiles will prevent rats from grabbing onto it. Any glass wall that is smooth would be impossible for a rat to be able to climb up as well.

Rats hate the smell of eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint or chemical deterrents that would repel them from your walls. Unfortunately, these scents that you place on your walls are temporary and would need re-application.

How High Can Rats Climb?

Rats can climb extremely tall buildings.

  1. They can also jump up vertically to grab onto a surface that is 36 inches above them.
  2. They can also leap forward 48 inches.
  3. Since they can jump up and jump forward such a great distance, they are able to climb trees that are even 5 feet away from your home and then make their way onto your wall or roof.
  4. A rat can fall a distance of 50 feet without getting hurt.

This makes a rat fearless when attempting to climb up tall buildings. It is practically impossible to determine the highest limit that a rat can reach.

Can a Rat Climb Metal?

The key for a rat to be able to climb metal would have to rely on how smooth or polished the surface of the metal actually is.

Although rats are also able to climb wood, brick or concrete, if the surfaces are also extremely polished or coated and treated with smooth textures on top of it, they will have a very difficult time to be able to climb up.

In many cases, rats will be able to find footholds between metal sheets or where there are pipes. In most cases, rats will be able to climb up:

  • Wood
  • Brick
  • Concrete
  • Pipes
  • Conveyors
  • Conduit
  • Weathered sheet metal

What Materials Can Rats Not Climb?

If the materials are smooth or polished it would be very difficult for a skilled climber like a rat to be able to hang onto with tiny paws. Geckos and other insects have hooked hairs on their feet that allow them to scale flat surfaces but rats do not.

There is no adhesive or suction on their pads. They need to find hand holes to balance their weight. This is why rats are unable to scale surfaces that are slick including the following:

  • Tiles
  • Polished metal
  • Glass
  • Concrete

If the concrete or metal has been weathered, it would be much easier for a rat to find footholds to grip. Otherwise it’s going to be very difficult for smooth surfaces to allow rats to climb up.

Are Rats Good Climbers?

Yes. Rats are great climbers because they are able to digging with their feet into the tiniest of grooves, cracks, holes and divots. They will be able to climb surfaces made of these substances:

  • Stone
  • Brick
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Gypsum

The claws of a rat are sharp and their 5 phalanges or fingers give them the ability to tightly grab onto plenty of surfaces.

Not only can they climb, they can drop down 50 feet, jump vertically 36 inches and horizontally 48 inches. They can find handholds on boxes, tables, chairs and window sills.

How Do Rats Climb Vertical Surfaces?

Rats have adapted to climb vertical surfaces to escape predators and find shelter or food. Their feet are padded and provide them with grip when they latch onto surfaces that are rough with their phalanges or fingers.

They have sharp nails that allow them to tightly hold on for brief moments when they are trying to climb up. They are also agile jumpers and can vertically move from one surface to another easily.

They have power from their hind legs giving them assurance that they will not be able to fall great distances. Rats can easily leap up:

  • trees
  • brick walls
  • gutters
  • drain pipes
  • fences
  • rough textured surfaces

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can Rats Climb a Brick Wall?

Yes. A rat can easily climb up a brick wall. There are many divots and grooves that rats can grip when climbing up bricks. They enjoy climbing rough bricks, stone and concrete to be able to scale up walls.

The surfaces must be smooth and polished and treated if you would like to prevent rats from crawling up these walls.

2. Can Rats Climb Up Plastic Drain Pipes?

Yes. Not only can rats climb up plastic drain pipes, they can swim inside them too. Rats are able to swim distances of a half a mile through drain pipes to get from one area to another. They can climb up drains and even enter your toilet. Rats are excellent swimmers.

3. Can Rats Climb up Glass?

Glass is one of the surfaces that are very difficult for rats to be able to climb up. If they are determined, they will try to find holes in between glass through pipes or window sills.

Glass is too smooth and hard with nothing to grip or burrow through. Glass is one of the greatest surfaces that prevents rats from climbing up.


How can we stop rats from climbing walls? It’s going to be very difficult but we should cut back on trees near our homes and trim down bushes. We should seal drain pipes.

You can use rodent repellent tape to wrap electrical cables. Wall guards also prevent rats from climbing. You can use them around vents as well. The smoother the texture of the wall, the harder it will be for a rat to climb up.


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