Can Snakes Climb Walls? (Interesting Facts)

Most reptiles are climbers and will make their way through most surfaces, including walls, to catch their prey. When it comes to snakes, they are limited in terms of the surfaces they can climb, given that, unlike other reptiles, they lack the grip to climb these surfaces. Whether your snake pet will escape by climbing through the wall or a prey snake finds its way to your home by climbing up the wall, we understand that it is a concern that requires attention.

So, can snakes climb walls? Some snake species can climb walls while others cannot, whether the wall has a rough texture or not. Therefore, a snake’s ability to climb a wall will vary in terms of species and wall type. Understanding the snake species you are dealing with and the different wall types will enable you to secure your home to prevent your pet from running away.

If you want to find out whether snakes can climb walls, this is the ultimate guide for you. We help you know what kind of snakes can climb walls, how snakes manage to climb walls, and whether snakes can climb stairs. Go through the following sections to find out all the answers you need.

What Kind of Snakes Can Climb Walls?

Most snakes will be able to climb a wall, depending on what they are pursuing. Their ability to climb a wall is dependent on the type of hunter the snake is, their body size, and weight.

So, what kinds of snakes can climb walls? Active hunters follow their prey actively and will climb almost every surface in a bid to hunt their prey. This behavior makes them good wall climbers. Snakes can be grouped as active and ambush hunters; therefore, ambush hunters will hide and wait on their prey to pass by then attack them. These hunters are passive and less likely to climb walls.

Ambush snakes, given their passive nature, are heavy and slow movers, and their hunting skill enables them to survive the wild, given that their prey, usual rodents, are fast movers. This nature makes them less likely to climb walls. They also lack motivation and will not chase after their prey.

Active hunters are usually thin-bodied snakes and will climb walls with ease to pursue their prey as they do not have a lot of weight to push up against gravity. Thin bodied snakes commonly include rat snakes, garter snakes, hognose snakes, king snakes, and milk snakes.

Venomous snakes can also climb walls. There are two types of venomous snakes, coral snakes, and pit vipers. Pit vipers are heavy-bodied and slow, just like ambush snakes, and will struggle to climb walls.

This is because the grooves between walls are too small for their bodies to fit, and their heavy body weight will increase their probability of falling from a wall. Coral snakes can also climb walls but usually shy off from human settlements.

How Do Snakes Manage to Climb Walls?

Snakes are climbers, given that their habitat comprises trees and cliffs. However, the technique they use to climb these surfaces will not be the same as they will need to climb up human-made walls. A snake will climb a wall while following a potential mate or prey, escape from predators, or keep its bodies warm, especially if the other side of the wall is warmer.

So, how do snakes manage to climb walls? Snakes manage to climb up walls by latching onto protrusions in the walls. Human-made walls feature smooth surfaces with no protrusions and branches, making it difficult for a snake to climb as they cannot latch on these protrusions and pull their bodies up. Therefore, whether a snake will climb a wall or not will depend on the type of building material.

Snakes will easily climb rough walls than smooth walls. If the wall contains ridges and grooves, such as a brick wall, the snake will anchor themselves and climb up. On the other hand, if the wall is smooth, without cracks and crevices, it will be difficult for a snake to climb. This explains why snakes cannot climb plastered, glass, wallpapered, or metallic walls.

While snakes cannot climb smooth walls, there are exceptions to this rule. If a smooth wall has a protrusion that a snake can cling to, they will climb. When it comes to stucco walls, a snake’s ability to climb up will depend on how smooth the stucco is. If the stucco wall is rough, with some ridges, thin snakes can find their way up.

While snakes can climb walls, there is a limitation as to how high they can go. As a common rule, a snake will climb any wall shorter than its length, regardless of the wall building material. This is because all they will need to do in such an instance is propel their body over the wall.

If a wall is high, the snake will be less likely to reach the top due to gravity, which increases their chances of falling. However, if they are determined, they will manage to go up any high wall, but it will take longer for them to climb.

Can Snakes Climb Stairs?

Snakes, especially heavy-bodied snakes, will rely on stairs to find their way into buildings. While texture influences their ability to climb walls, this is not the case with stairs, as most stairs are as smooth as the floors. Therefore, when it comes to climbing the stairs, snakes may need something extra to achieve this.

So, can snakes climb stairs? Stairs pose a big challenge for snakes to climb but they can climb stair, if can lift their front part and then push it to the next step on the stairs. If they do this repeatedly, they will eventually find themselves on the next floor of the building. This action is possible given some special body muscles, which are also responsible for the fast movement in snakes.

To effectively climb stairs, snakes need to have the right body length. A longer snake will climb steps spaced further apart, while a shorter snake will not be able to. This is because they should rest well between the steps to push their bodies up the stairs.

Generally, if the snake’s length doubles the height they want to climb, they will do this with a lot of ease. For instance, a 12-inch snake will not climb stairs whose steps are 10 inches apart.


As a pet owner, it’s important to know your snake’s species and behavior to protect it from predators and from harming other people. This includes knowing whether your snake can climb walls and its ability to escape its cage and your premise.

So, snakes are intentional in climbing walls. They will do this while chasing their prey or mate. Their ability to climb walls is dependent on their body size and weight. Small bodied and thin snakes will climb walls easily than heavy-bodied snakes.

The wall’s texture will also dictate their ability to climb, with rough walls being easier to climb than smooth walls. Thus, in places commonly infested with snakes, or to prevent your pet from running away into the wild, it is advisable to construct smooth walls.

You should also note that venomous snakes can also climb walls. Therefore, if you spot a snake on your wall, you should be careful when removing it to prevent them from biting you or contact a vet for further advice.

Remember, snakes can be friendly, but if mishandled, they may strike you with their venom. Therefore, understanding your locality is necessary to determine whether you are likely to encounter wall climbing snakes and know how best to deal with them.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

Recent Posts