Can snakes climb high walls?
Questions About Snakes

Can Snakes Climb Walls?

Many people find encountering snakes frightening enough without the idea that snakes can climb walls. But when you find a snake in your attic or inside your walls, how else did they get there?

Can snakes climb walls? Snakes can climb brick walls, but NOT smooth surfaces. Snakes climb walls by finding grooves and rough textures that they can push up and away from, gradually climbing higher up the wall.

We will explain how snakes can climb walls. We’ll then look at the reasons why snakes are most likely to attempt to get into your wall cavities or attic so you can prevent it from happening in the future.

Can Snakes Climb High Walls?

Yes, but they can’t climb any wall. To be specific, the wall has to be textured. It has to have a structure that supports the snake in their position and also helps them move.

Also, rattlesnakes can’t climb walls because they’re too big. To understand how you have to understand how snakes move.

How Do Snakes Move?

Snakes move through a complicated series of ‘pushing off’ movements. According to the BBC, there are four main ways that a snake can move.

These are as follows:

  • Concertina, where the snake moves in an S-like shape. The coiled tail and midsection move up towards the head, after which the head pushes off, describing a concertina-like movement.
  • Serpentine, where the head leads the body by moving from left to right, continually. The entire body moves forward in a wave-like motion. This is the way that you move your hand if you describe how a snake moves.
  • Sidewinding, which is a little like the concertina method, but side-on. Sidewinders move sideways like crabs, hence the name.
  • Caterpillar, which, as the name suggests, is where the snake moves in the same way that a caterpillar does. This method isn’t as common as others.

Each of these methods relies on part of their body pushing ahead while another part pulls them forward. This is one of the very earliest methods of movement—it’s incredibly ancient, dating back literally billions of years.

Some of the oldest forms of life, essentially tiny worms, used banded circular muscles along their body to achieve much the same methods of movement. This is like earthworms and snakes today.

How Do Snakes Climb Walls?

What you will have noticed is that the snake must, whichever method they choose, develop strong core muscles in their body that help them move.

This gives them the strength for climbing. Not only that but the winding movements they make help them to climb brick walls and similar, as their bodies conform to the grouting in between the bricks.

This is how they gain purchase while climbing. To a snake, a brick wall—with a variable, even rough texture—is a lot like a tree, the kind they would climb in the wild.

can snakes get inside walls?

Snakes can’t grip or stick to a wall like other reptiles sometimes can. Geckos have specially adapted feet and toes that are covered in tiny, microscopic hairs that help them stick to walls.

Snakes don’t have hands or feet like these—they don’t have any hands at all! So, if the wall is completely flat, i.e., plastered or wallpapered, the snake can’t climb it.

Because snakes can’t grip onto walls, that means they aren’t great climbers. They can easily fall off if disturbed, or if they don’t have enough purchase.

Why Do Snakes Climb Walls?

Snake behavior is guided by the desire to either find food, mate or find somewhere safe to get away from predators. All animals are guided by these same principles, which is why you get hungry or want to find a girlfriend or boyfriend. When analyzing simpler animals like snakes, you can better understand their motivations by thinking of these principles.

The most obvious reason why a snake might climb a wall is that they’re hunting. Snakes have an organ called the vomeronasal organ, which is like a highly-developed nose.

The vomeronasal organ can smell the pheromonal scent of prey, which the snake will then track. Considering how many snakes live in the forest, and plenty of prey like birds and rodents live in trees, it makes sense that a snake wouldn’t be put off by having to climb a wall.

And when you think about it, there’s probably a lot that they can hunt for. Your attic might be infested with mice or rats. Or, you could have a bird’s nest in your guttering that the snake can smell.

An attic or a wall would also make a good hiding spot to get away from a predator. Snakes generally enjoy finding dark and hidden places to relax or sleep.

Mating makes a little less sense as a reason for a snake to climb a wall. If there’s no food there, there would be little reason for a snake to live in an attic or wall.

They would move on to somewhere they can eat. It’s therefore unlikely that a snake would be able to find a mate by climbing up a wall.

Do Venomous Snakes Climb Walls?

Yes, venomous snakes can climb walls. No physical difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes would prevent them from being able to climb.

However, any snake you find on a wall is exploring or hunting. If you leave them be, they won’t be any trouble on the outside of your house. Your best option would be to call pest control.

Even if they aren’t venomous, a large snake can still give you a nasty bite. A bite, no matter how small, can also easily become infected. Unfortunately, all snakes can bite you.

Which Snakes Can Climb Walls?

Of course, not all snakes can climb a wall. Generally speaking, if the snake has a thin body, they’ll be able to climb a brick wall. So, which breeds of snake can climb up walls?

  • Pet snakes like smooth or rough green snakes, or rat snakes with thin bodies. These snakes are the usual suspects when it comes to climbing up walls.
  • Larger-bodied pythons and constrictors, which can climb up a door jamb by clinging onto both sides of the wall. Larger-bodied snakes can’t climb the face of a wall, however, as they’re too big around the middle.

Rat snakes include corn snakes, black rat snakes, eastern rat snakes, great plains rat snakes and more. Ball pythons are too large to climb the bare face of a wall. The majority of reports of this behavior are of small rat snakes.

Can Snakes Climb Vinyl Siding?

Yes, they can, although it can be a little more difficult for them than a brick or stone wall depending on the pattern. Again, the texture and structure of vinyl siding give them something that they can push away from.

This is essential to whichever method of movement they choose. It means that climbing up a tree or a wall is little different to them to move along the ground.

Can Snakes Get in the Attic?

Rat snakes across the U.S. are capable of climbing walls to reach windows or gaps in the wall on the second or third floor. As we said, snakes have a highly developed scent-detector organ that can help them identify nearby prey.

If they smell prey in your attic, they’re going to try and find a way in— just as they would climb a tree to find a small rodent or some bird eggs. If they find a way in, you most likely won’t notice as snakes are excellent at hiding.

If you have snakes in your attic, it’s a sign that you have a rodent problem. It’s also a sign that you might not have a rodent problem for much longer because the snake will take care of it for you.

which snakes can climb walls?

It’s likely to be a rat snake, which is non-venomous and become scared easily. However, attics are also a prime hiding spot for abandoned or escaped pet snakes.

According to WNEP, a Florida man discovered a boa constrictor living in his attic that had likely been there for several years. Stories like these occur regularly, too.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so call pest control to take care of your snake problem.

Can Snakes Get Inside Walls?

Yes, snakes can get inside walls. They’re great at squeezing through tight gaps, and can easily take advantage of a mousehole that they find and can fit through.

Snakes love dark and secluded hiding places. This is why your pet snake needs a hide in their enclosure. It’s also why snakes like to hide inside walls.

Again, if a snake has decided to take up residence inside your wall, it’s probably because there’s food. Snakes aren’t stupid, and will only live somewhere where they can find something to eat.

That’s where corn snakes get their name because they used to live near granaries, where there were plenty of mice and rats to eat.

How to Stop Snakes Climbing Walls

Method How to Prevent Snakes Climbing Walls
Snake Repellent: These are sprays and powders that you spray or sprinkle in an area that you don’t want any snakes. Leave some either on the bottom of the wall or around the wall. Ensure complete coverage so that there’s no way the snake can get around it.
Install a small fence: Snakes can’t climb smooth, flat surfaces so a smooth and flat wooden fence might keep them out. For added protection, you could install netting on the inside of your fence to stop them from getting through any gaps. If there are any gaps in the fence—like in a picket fence—then this won’t do a single thing to stop snakes from getting through.
Cut back nearby trees: If there’s a tree that overhangs your property, it’s possible that the snake could climb the tree and drop onto your roof if there’s food there for it. If this is the case, cut away any branches that overhang your property to prevent this from happening.

Observe the snakes trying to climb the wall. Where did they come from, and where are they going?

What Do I Do If a Snake Climbs My Wall?

If you notice a snake climbing your wall, the first thing you should do is avoid panicking. The snake is almost certainly not a venomous one.

Don’t approach the snake. Snakes don’t like being cornered and will get defensive if they are. Even if you know how to handle snakes, approaching one that’s climbing your wall might cause it to lose its balance and fall.

It would then be sandwiched between you and the wall—that, plus the fact that they just received a short, sharp shock would likely make them angry. Leave the snake be.

You should call a pest control expert to get rid of the snakes. They will have the appropriate protective equipment, as well as experience getting rid of snakes safely.