How Fast Can a Rat Run? Unveiling the Speed of Rats and Their Impact on Pest Control Measures

So How fast can a rat run? Rats are one of the most common animals on Earth. They are often seen as pests, but they can also be helpful when they live in farms and eat pests.

The average rat can run at speeds of up to 18 kilometers per hour. This is a lot faster than humans who top out at about 12 kilometers per hour. Rats are also capable of jumping nearly three times their height, which is about 1 meter.


In the world of pest control, understanding the physiology and behaviour of pests is crucial for implementing successful prevention and extermination strategies. Among the diverse pests plaguing households and businesses, rats stand out due to their unique attributes, particularly their astonishing speed. Many often wonder, how fast can a rat run? This piece delves into the intricacies of the rat’s speed, its implications for pest control, and how professionals at Bon Accord Pest Control employ this knowledge to provide top-notch pest control services.

Unravelling the Speed of a Rat

Rats are among the most agile creatures in the urban ecosystem. Their average running speed is around 6-8 mph, roughly 9.5-13 km/h, although under distress or when threatened, they may briefly achieve higher speeds. These velocities allow them to elude many predators, navigate through small spaces, and are one reason they proliferate so quickly in urban environments.

Anatomy of Speed: Rat Physiology

The rat’s speed can largely be attributed to its unique physiological traits. With a flexible body and long tail for balance, rats can sprint quickly across surfaces and fit through gaps as small as 15mm. Their powerful hind legs allow them to leap vertically, while their sharp claws provide great traction, enabling them to climb walls or run along narrow pathways.

Implications for Pest Control

The extraordinary speed of rats significantly impacts how pest control strategies are designed and executed.

Challenges in Rat Control

Rat speed, coupled with their nimbleness, creates numerous challenges. Traditional snap traps and poison bait stations can often prove ineffective as these swift creatures can quickly avoid them. Their speed also facilitates rapid breeding, making the task of curbing rat populations even more daunting.

The Role of Professional Pest Control

Professional pest control services like Bon Accord Pest Control come equipped with advanced tools and tactics to overcome these challenges. Our understanding of rat behaviour and physiology, including their impressive speed, enables us to design bespoke control measures that maximise effectiveness and minimise risks.

Bon Accord Pest Control: Proactive, Knowledge-Driven Pest Management

At Bon Accord, our pest control strategies are built on comprehensive knowledge of the pests we manage, including the fascinating and formidable rat.

Scientific Approach

We employ scientific research to understand rat behaviour and adapt our strategies accordingly. This includes recognising the rat’s speed and exploiting it to our advantage, such as using multi-catch traps, tracking powders, and bait that takes advantage of their need to explore and run.

Customised Pest Control Plans

Based on our understanding of rat behaviour and individual client requirements, we design customised pest control plans. These might involve preventive measures, rat-proofing advice, and the strategic placement of control mechanisms to counteract the rat’s remarkable speed.

Ongoing Monitoring and Evaluation

Our work doesn’t stop at implementing pest control measures. We conduct regular inspections and evaluations to ensure the effectiveness of our strategies and modify them as required. By constantly staying on top of rat behaviour, including their speed, we ensure effective long-term pest control for our clients.

Answering the question “How fast can a rat run?” provides valuable insights into their behaviour, enhancing our pest control strategies. At Bon Accord Pest Control, our expert team leverages this understanding to implement effective pest management solutions. This blend of science-based knowledge, practical application, and professional expertise ensures that even the fastest rat doesn’t stand a chance against our dedicated and vigilant pest control services.

How fast are rats?

So How fast can a rat run? Rats are known for their agility. While they might seem big and cumbersome compared to mice, rats are solid climbers and swimmers. Most of the time, when we see a rat, it’s only for a split second as they scurry between hiding spots. But while rats are certainly fast, especially given their size and small limbs, they are relatively slow compared to some other rodents. A rat’s running speed tops out at about 8 miles per hour. By comparison, a squirrel can run almost twice as fast, reaching speeds of 15 miles per hour running full-tilt. These speeds are faster than the average human; we run at 5-6 miles per hour. The fastest running speeds ever recorded in people are 21 miles per hour for women and 23 miles per hour for men.

Speed isn’t the only factor determining how agile rats are, however. Rats rarely run for very long; they usually only run when they’re covering the open ground between concealed spots and can’t stay hidden. While they’re out of sight, rats move more slowly. They’re better suited to short, intense bursts of movement than sustained efforts; they prefer a sprint to a marathon.

How fast can a rat run? Rats running

But it isn’t their speed that makes rats challenging to catch. Rats have quick reflexes and excellent pathfinding abilities. Even in unfamiliar environments, rats can quickly pick out escape routes and hiding spots, making them difficult to corner. Most pest controllers recommend that if you find a rat in your home, you trap it if possible. But anyone who has ever had to do this will know that it’s more difficult than it sounds. 

Rats are definitely fast, but they can’t evade cats and other predators that have evolved to hunt them.

So how fast can a rat run?

Rats are incredibly quick and agile creatures, capable of running up to six times their body length in a single second or 6 to 8 miles an hour.This makes them expert escape artists and formidable predators. Rats have also been known to jump up to four feet high, making them difficult to trap or catch.

How To Get Rid of rats

Bon Accord provides specialist pest control services to individuals and businesses throughout London. Our pest control technicians have the extensive knowledge and experience required to diagnose and resolve even the most stubborn pest infestations rapidly and comprehensively. When we’re through, we guarantee your home or business will be completely free from pests.

Read more about pest control services for rats in London.

Get in touch with Bon Accord your local pest control expert.

Karin HarndenKarin Harnden
17:14 05 May 24
We thought we had bedbugs but could find no evidence apart from what we thought were bites. I called Bon Accord and Gabriel was there within a couple of hours. He told us we had carpet beetle. Finding the evidence and showing us photos of the skin reaction which was exactly what we had. He advised and returned at a time to suit us to spray which was done thoroughly and efficiently. No sign of the little critters returning. Thank you Gabriel.
Luiza LoboLuiza Lobo
21:02 11 Apr 24
Gabriel went above and beyond. He is extremely knowledgable and very efficient at what he does. The results were outstanding. Nothing is too much for him. Delighted with his professionalism and work.
sam zsam z
19:11 03 Apr 24
Top-notched pest control service!! Went above and beyond to eradicate the rats from our property. Gabriel even offered to further investigate the infestation issues for our neighbours. We found him to be extremely professional and easy to work with. We highly recommend Gabriel to anyone in need of pest control.
23:29 02 Apr 24
Gabriel provided great service , responded quickly on an emergency for pest infestation, professional and friendly. No more pests at home.
Felicity GrayFelicity Gray
21:53 02 Apr 24
Gabriel was absolutely wonderful, a real life saver when I found a mouse by my bed at 10pm. He came in less than an hour and was able to catch the mouse and put my mind at rest so I could go to sleep! Highly recommend, fab service and lovely people.
Med KashaniMed Kashani
10:54 24 Feb 24
Gabriel turned up with an hours notice one evening and immediately identified the issued. He works efficiently and professionally throughout with timely follow-ups to ensure the problem was resolved. Once completed he was kind enough to continue to check in to see that the issue had gone. Having had Rentokil previously that spent two years doing very little this was a complete breathe of fresh air and solved the problem in less than two weeks. We are grateful and would highly recommend his services.
Nesma TalaatNesma Talaat
20:26 20 Feb 24
We were lucky to have found Bon Accord, they responded very fast to our request and Gabriel was very helpful and informative. He made several visits and did his absolute best until the mice problem we had was gone. Highly recommended.

At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio digni goikussimos ducimus qui to bonfo blanditiis praese. Ntium voluum deleniti atque.

Melbourne, Australia
(Sat - Thursday)
(10am - 05 pm)