Can Rats Climb Walls? How to keep rats from scaling your walls

can rats climb walls
You can keep rats from climbing walls by using wall guards, rodent repellent tape on cables, and sealing gaps around pipes. While rats can't climb glass or tile, they can scale surfaces like brick, wood, and concrete.

Rats are excellent climbers, resourceful, and will climb virtually anything they can get a grip on, including the side of your house. Unlike the brown rats, which are less agile and larger, roof rats are perfect climbers, typically preferring to nest above ground on roofs, and rats can climb trees.

Rats feed on the scraps they find around your home. As a result, homeowners are constantly looking for ways to deter these rodents. It’s important to note some rats, known as ship rats or roof rats, can climb fences, walls, trees, and fences.

Ship rats likely came to the Americas from Asia via trade routes and port cities. In the Pacific, they may have come to places like Australia with the First Fleet in 1788 from India.

Now that you know the answer to the question, “can rats climb walls?” Let’s look at how to keep rats from climbing your walls. 

Can rats climb walls?

Yes, rats are nimble and agile rodents capable of climbing walls.

Roof rats are highly adaptable and can invade virtually all artificial areas. You’ll often find them in sewers, which they frequently use to move around, ending up in your home.

Both mice and rats are good climbers and can climb a vertical surface or wall and shimmy up between drain pipes and walls. They have claws that help them attach to the rough wall surfaces quickly. 

They have sharp paws containing five fingers, each with pads underneath the paw, helping them cling tightly with a firm grip. Rats use their tails when walking through wires and cables to maintain balance and stability. 

rat poking its head through cardboard

Can rats climb up the side of a house?

Yes, rats are excellent climbers. They are resourceful and will climb virtually anything they can get a grip on, including the side of your house.

Rats require sufficient surfaces, such as stone, concrete, wood, and brick. This is because rat feet have paws that can grasp and cling to the side walls of your house.

Further, rats can hang, jump, climb, and stretch on many different surfaces to get into your house. Rats are also flexible enough to squeeze through small wall crevices and cracks and have whiskers that help them detect or sense in the dark.

So, if your side walls have rough surfaces, rats can climb them easily because they have something to hold and grab onto. Wood, stone, and brick walls all provide surfaces for rats to scale over. 

How do I keep rats from climbing my walls?

Despite their dexterity and climbing skills, there are still ways you can stop rats from climbing your walls. Let’s look at a few:

Installing wall guards

Wall guards are very efficient due to their smoothness. Some homeowners install wall guards on both trees and walls. Wall guards are long sheets of metal that deter a rat from climbing over.

Since they’re smooth, rats can’t climb over them or make holes with their sharp nails. Place the metal guard at least thirty-six inches above the ground and twelve inches wide. 

Wrapping electrical cables with rodent repellent tape

In most cases, rodent tape is made with capsaicin, usually found in chili peppers. Although hard to chew, adding the spiciness makes it an ideal deterrent for rats. Rats are intelligent, and they’ll learn not to bite the cables to avoid being burned.

Sealing gaps around water and heating pipes

Rat infestation is more common in winter when trying to stay warm. As a result, rats and mice will be naturally attracted to heating and water pipes.

Seating these gaps is essential as rats can get into your house through these pipes too. Rats are excellent swimmers and can actually swim through waste pipe and into your toilet to access your home.

rat crawling on a pipe

What surfaces can rats not climb?

As previously mentioned, rats are good climbers on rough surfaces. The opposite is true with smooth surfaces.

Rats find it challenging to climb over smooth surfaces as they do not have bumps or crevices that they can grab onto. Some of these surfaces include:

  • Glass: Rats cannot grab and hold onto glass surfaces
  • Tile: Tiles have smooth surfaces making it challenging for rats to scale

However, rats will still be able to scale cables, drain pipes, and anything lining your walls. So, it’s imperative to factor this as you rat-proof the walls. 

How to keep rats away from your house

Rats are notorious disease carriers and home invaders. Rats are dangerous because they:

  • Spread diseases, some of which are fatal
  • Damage your property
  • Contaminate food and water sources
  • Increase risks of fires because of chewed wires

As a result, you want to keep these critters away from your house. Besides, no one wants to see a dead rat in their home. Apart from setting rat traps, here are other ways to keep rats at bay:

  • Filling in holes, cracks, gaps, and wall crevices
  • Avoid feeding them by sealing trash cans and cleaning up pet food
  • Remove their habitat by removing debris like old appliances, wood, and old cars from your property
  • Trim shrubs, trees, and limbs back four feet from your house
  • Use baits and poisons outside
rat inside a home on some fabric

DIY Home Remedies to keep rats away

There are other home remedies if you do not want to purchase rat poison from your local store or online. You can place these rat repellents along areas with high rat activity:

  • Peppermint oil
  • Ammonia
  • Cloves or clove oil
  • Garlic
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • Onions
  • Instant potatoes
  • Peppermint oil


Joseph Wales is a professional SEO content writer specializing in pest control, varmint removal, pets, and everything in nature. When not publishing, he’s busy teaching college and university students how to write admission essays and structure their academic papers. Writing has always been his passion, and he spends most of his time outdoors with his two lovely daughters in his spare time. He is also a skilled farmer, always traveling to his rural home to check on the livestock and corn field when he has the time. Armed with hands-on experience, Joseph uses his SEO writing skills to communicate accurate and engaging information that will also be valuable and educational, adding to the value of his readers.

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