Mice are known for being especially creative when it comes to invading homes. Many people tell stories of mice climbing walls and ceilings, or jumping across counter tops. It is true that mice do have an impressive repertoire of physical abilities, which allow them to reach unexpected places and fit into spaces that you would never expect, but can they really climb straight up a wall?
It Depends on the Surface
The answer to whether or not a mouse can climb any surface has a lot to do with what the surface is made of. Their tiny claws give them the ability to latch onto any kind of uneven or rough surface, which includes walls that have a particularly porous finish.
For instance, concrete walls have tons of tiny air bubbles in them that create a rough outer surface. If these pin holes are big enough, mice can grip them with their claws and climb. Stucco, siding, wood finishing, and shingles also provide excellent gripping surfaces that allow mice to climb vertically.
Glass and most smooth painted walls do not offer the same kind of opportunity for mice because the do not have anything to grip with the tips of their claws.
Unfortunately, most people do not have bare walls in their entire house, and mice can find other ways of ascending to higher vantage points. For instance, any kind of electrical cord or wiring running alongside a wall will give a mouse ample opportunity to climb. Their paws allow them to grip tightly around cords and their tails give them balance to keep from falling. Mice are also small and light enough that they can usually climb small wires and cords without worrying about pulling down a lamp or other appliance.
Most often mice try to keep out of sight by moving around inside of walls. Since your walls are full of insulation, wires, pipes and support structures, they have a much simpler time moving from one part of the house to another. Not to mention the fact that the insulation in the walls makes for great nesting opportunities.
As a homeowner you will be more likely to hear mice in your house than see them until there is a real problem.
Unfortunately, mice are able to squeeze into holes about a quarter inch in diameter, and these holes can be in closet spaces and behind appliances where you are unlikely to ever find them. This is slightly larger than the diameter of a pencil, and since the holes are typically along carpeted areas and in corners, you will have a difficult time spotting them without very close inspection.
Once an entryway is found, mice will begin nesting and reproducing quickly, which will only lead to more problems. Aside from the sounds created by mice in your walls, the next biggest signs of their presence will be fecal matter and chewing. Again, because of their ability fit into tiny spaces, they will probably chew the corners off of boxes and cabinets to gain entry, which may not be immediately apparent until its too late.
One of the biggest problems for homeowners is that mice get into the home during initial construction. It is nearly impossible to keep mice out before the house has been completed. There are too many openings, and no way to completely seal every tiny hole around the exterior. As a result, almost all new construction will need to be treated for pests upon completion.
Mice Can Jump
Another problem that many people do not account for is that mice are capable of jumping from the ground onto other surfaces. According to most professionals, mice are able to jump vertically about 13 inches onto tables, shelves or counter tops. This gives them access to areas that you may have thought were out of reach.
If your house has any kind of clutter around, mice will have a perfect platform for jumping and climbing. Even wall-mounted shelves that are independently attached to walls provide a suitable pathways for mice, with or without any support from the ground.
Mice are very versatile animals, and their ability to climb and reach hard to find places makes them very difficult to catch. Homeowners need to be aware of the pathways that they are providing for mice to get around in their homes. Being aware of how mice climb will allow you to better protect your walls from their claws. Keep in mind the cords and other objects in your house that give mice access to areas above your head.
Always remember that even if you eliminate all of the easy pathways inside your homes, the interior of your walls will still be a prime location for mice to climb and nest, and never forget that mice are not limited to set pathways, but can jump across small distances and up onto other objects to reach their destination.