Home PestsRats

What Can Rats Chew Through?

Rat In The Yard

Rats! No matter how many precautions you take, these little critters always find a way inside.

They do this by chewing their way through the exterior of homes and other structures. So, an interesting question here is: what can rats chew through?


Believe it or not, but rats can munch through almost anything, including:

  • Plastic
  • Wood
  • Bricks and blocks
  • Metals
  • Cement and concrete

Wow! Rats got to have some powerful jaws and teeth to chew through such strong materials!

So what makes them so good at gnawing through even the toughest of matters? Well, keep on reading to find out!

Why Are Rats So Good at Chewing?

Rat Chewing Cheese

Rats have 16 teeth. The incisors (four front teeth, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw) are the strongest.

Interestingly, as the rats age, these incisors never stop growing throughout their lifetime.

To keep these teeth from growing way out of proportion, rats must constantly gnaw on whatever they can find.

So, when rats chew through stuff, they do it for survival and self-preservation.

Did You Know?

The rat’s incisors can grow by as much as 1.4 mm on a daily basis. This is why they have to constantly grind and chew to keep these teeth from overgrowing.

Evolved To Be the Perfect Chewers

Rat Eating An Insect

Have you ever seen a rat with its eyes bulging out of its sockets?

When rats munch on something, the force of the jaw muscles causes the eye sockets to vibrate and bulge out. This is due to their powerful jaw muscles that go around their eyes.

The Mohs Scale can determine the strength of a rat’s incisors. This scale, developed by Friedrich Mohs, a German mineralogist, gives an insight into how hard something is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest and 1 being the softest.

On this scale, the rat’s teeth rank at 5.5, making them harder than copper and iron! No wonder rats are able to chew through almost anything!

Interesting Fact

The great white shark’s bite is estimated to have a maximum force of 2 tons per square inch, whereas a rat’s bite can exert a force of up to 12 tons per square inch!

Materials Rats Can Chew Through

Rats Hiding

Let’s have a look at what rats can chew through:

Brick Walls

Brick Walls

Even though brick walls are among the strongest materials, given enough time, rats can slowly gnaw their way through.

In fact, rats love to make small nests and create mazes inside brick walls to easily move around in search of food.


Concrete Wall

Rats can even chomp through concrete unless it’s properly mixed, cured, and poured with all nooks and crannies sealed.

If these critters find any space to burrow under a concrete foundation or see any issues arising from erosion, drainage problems, or soil displacement, it can lead to disaster.

For a family of rats, chewing through such weaknesses will take a matter of days.

Canned Food Containers

Canned Foods

Rats would love to sink their teeth into some canned food! After all, they’re always on the hunt for nourishment, so if they get the chance, they’d like nothing more than to test their chewing skills on some food containers.


Biscuit Wrappers

Plastic has got to be a rat’s best friend, especially soft plastic.

Gnawing through soft plastic is like a hot knife through butter, whereas with hard plastic, given enough time, the rat can create enough of an opening to get through.


Tin Containers

It seems rats are fans of soft metal, but not that much when it comes to heavy hard metals!

Rats make short work of soft metals like aluminum, tin, and lead. This is why rat cages are made of hardened steel, as it is difficult for rats to scrape the surface.

Although, there have been incidents where large rats have chewed their way out of steel cages.

Be Warned

Rats are carriers of a number of diseases, so make sure to take steps to ensure the safety of your home, office, or any other structure.


By the looks of things, it seems humans will need to be more resourceful to stop the rats from chewing through their structures.

Being able to gnaw through metal, brick, plastic, wood, and even concrete, rats only need to create a small opening, and they can squeeze their way in.

After all, rats are natural and habitual chewers. They gnaw and chomp out of desperation and self-preservation, making them more dangerous.

Maybe it’s time to start thinking about what rats can’t chew through. An interesting topic for another day, perhaps!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Hardest Thing a Rat Can Chew Through?

If the material is weaker than a rat’s teeth, it will eventually succumb to the rat’s constant gnawing!

Will Rats Chew Through Steel?

Rats cannot chew through hard metals like steel. However, they have been known to cut through thin steel wires.

What Can’t Rats Chew Through?

Rats are not able to chew through:

  • Solid glass
  • Hard metals
  • Solid concrete

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *