Why Do Cockroaches Climb Walls?

February 14, 2024

Cockroaches are known to climb walls, furniture, clothing, and other surfaces in search of food or shelter. In fact, they are drawn to cluttered spaces that provide them with multiple hiding places, such as kitchen cabinets and counters.

To scale these smooth or rough surfaces, cockroaches have tiny claws at the ends of their legs that grab onto small ridges and bumps on the surface. They can also grip on thin threads or other small irregularities on the surface. Interestingly, roaches can climb many different types of surfaces, including wood, drywall, ceramic tile, and stone. However, they cannot climb some surfaces, such as glass and mirrors.

Besides climbing, cockroaches are good runners. One trick they use to evade predators is rapid inversion. When a cockroach reaches the end of a platform like a table, it swings its rear legs underneath the surface, which allows it to continue running without breaking stride.

Once a cockroach reaches the other side of the platform, it can then switch back to running upright. This trick helps cockroaches run 20 percent faster than if they jumped off their legs and climbed the wall.

When a cockroach is disturbed while climbing, it may lose its footing and fall off the surface. The insect’s legs are covered with a sticky substance that can help it stick to the surface and avoid losing its balance. If a cockroach falls off the edge of a wall, it will typically roll down the wall and come to rest near the ground.

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