Can Mice Climb Walls?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: October 2, 2023
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Some people hope that mice are stuck on the ground floor of their homes or perhaps only live in their basements. After all, they’re small creatures, and it doesn’t seem like they can climb upstairs. Unfortunately, mice are rather athletic. They’re fantastic at climbing, jumping, scurrying, and swimming. They’ll perform some serious acrobatics to find food. Can mice climb walls, though?

We’ll show you how mice climb and how they approach sheer walls. The answer may not be all that surprising, but you may just find yourself impressed with these creatures’ tenacity.  

How Do Mice Climb?

Mice have claws on their toes that help them climb.

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Mice are very good climbers even though they are not very large. They take advantage of their body’s morphology to scamper up many surfaces. A mouse’s foot is not that unusual. They have five toes on their back feet and four on their front feet. They also have soft pads from which their toes protrude that help increase the surface area of their grip.

Each toe has a short, sharp nail that they can use to gain traction on various surfaces. They have more than enough strength in their legs to pull their bodies up once they are set. These nails can dig into any small surfaces or just grooves. All mice need is a little surface to dig in, and they can propel themselves upwards.

However, climbing isn’t the only trick in their arsenal for getting to places. Mice can jump straight in the air quite a bit. Some estimates place their jumping height at anywhere between 10 and 13 inches. As a result, they can perform acrobatics where that would leave stunt people stunned.

Mice can also use a wall and anything next to it, like a pipe, to climb higher using a shimmy movement.

Can Mice Climb Walls?

Northern Grasshopper mouse looking for prey.

Mice can certainly climb walls.

©Liz Weber/

Yes, mice can climb walls. That is, mice can climb some walls. As we’ve already said, mice climb by using their small toes and claws to find nooks. They don’t need a large area to dig in their claws, either. Moreover, they can find a little crevice in a wall and use that to propel themselves upwards.

They don’t stick to the wall when they climb, but it can look like they are because they climb vertically. However, when we say that mice can climb walls, that doesn’t mean they can climb every single wall. It all depends on the type of surface that is available and what’s near it.

Even if a mouse finds a surface that it cannot climb, it could use its great jumping ability and the presence of a pipe or other surface to shimmy. Although they aren’t the smartest animals, mice are tenacious. They can and will find a way to get up most walls.

Now that we’ve answered if mice can climb walls, let’s look at the surfaces that work best for them.

What Surfaces Can Mice Climb?

Mice can climb just about any surface that has imperfections in it. For example, if you have a brick wall, mice will easily climb it. They will use the imperfections in the stone as a foothold to move up the wall. They can climb many other surfaces, too. For example, they can climb:

  • Brick
  • Concrete
  • Drywall
  • Some wood paneling
  • Metal siding
  • Stucco

Remember, mice do not need to climb a wall directly if there is something nailed into it or nearby that helps them climb. For example, if a mouse is inside a wall, it can use studs or wires to climb. That is one of the reasons that people often hear these small rodents scurrying on the inside of walls. Not only is it out of sight of humans, but it’s like a jungle gym for them.

Surfaces Mice Cannot Climb

Even though mice can climb a lot of different surfaces, they certainly can’t climb them all. Some of the most common surfaces that they can’t climb include:

  • Smooth plastic
  • Smooth metal
  • Smooth and glazed wood

For that reason, a lot of people try to trap mice by putting them in a plastic bucket. While they usually can’t climb out of these buckets, they can jump out of them in some cases.

Unfortunately, some of these surfaces are not common in homes. Meanwhile, many of the surfaces that are easiest to climb are in most homes.

All in all, it’s nearly impossible to fit your home with surfaces they can’t climb. However, these surfaces can be used in traps if you want to trap and remove the mice.  

Getting Rid of Mice in Your Home

Pet Mice

Getting rid of mice requires traps, barriers, or poison.

©Rudmer Zwerver/

Now that you know how mice climb walls, it’s important to know how to get them away from your home. Generally speaking, you have two approaches. You can use barrier methods to keep mice from getting into your home. Otherwise, you can use methods to kill them.

Barrier methods are popular ways to keep mice out of your house. That often involves sealing up any holes on the outside of your home. That can take time and some expertise to spot them. Another popular and natural way to stop mice from coming into your home is to spray the area with chemicals.

Some people put down peppermint oil, various types of strong pepper, or even cotton balls. The smell of these items keeps mice away from homes.

If you already have an infestation, then you need to take more drastic measures. That involves trapping mice. You can go through the humane route and trap the mice and release them far from your home. However, if your home is already widely infested, then it is probably best to use deadly traps or poison them with nuggets.

Mice have no trouble getting into homes. They can squeeze through incredibly small holes in walls or climb up the outside of brick homes. Once inside, mice can climb up just about any surface that is commonly found in a house. They are expert climbers, great acrobats, and very annoying pests. Now that you know that mice climb and how they scale walls, you can understand how they get from your basement all the way to your attic.

What Things are Mice Scared of?

Little pet: mouse on arm. Long haired decorative little mouse. Home animal, fun pet. Cute mice. Bicolor splashed mouse on white background. Decorative satin mouse. Photo of mice, pet. Animal and hand

Mice make affordable and sociable pets, but there are certain things that they are afraid of.

©Sergey Bezgodov/

It really does not take much for a mouse to find a suitable environment to nest, feed, and breed within your home. They are known survivors and will scrounge their surroundings to find what they need to help them get by and then reproduce.

A good way to deter mice is to bring a cat into the mix. Now, not every cat is aggressive enough to hunt down and eradicate your local mouse population, but just the presence of cats will help prevent mice from moving in and getting comfortable in your home. There are also breeds of dogs that will take on the mouser role and scare off mice.

Another way to scare off these rodents is to place containers that have some used kitty litter within them. Because they want to avoid felines, mice may think twice about coming inside when they catch a hint of the stinky odor.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Rudmer Zwerver/

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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