According to a University of Nebraska guide on rodent-proof construction, rats have the capability to climb nearly any vertical surface including brick, concrete, wood or sheet metal. In addition to walls, rats have the ability to climb the outside of conduit and vertical pipes up to three inches in diameter.
Other physical abilities of rats include swimming, leaping and burrowing. Rats can swim up to half a mile in open water and travel in sewer lines. Rats are also great jumpers, sporting a 36 inch vertical leap, and can survive a 50 foot fall without serious injury. Burrowing is another skill of rats, as they are known to burrow up to 36 inches into the ground if necessary.