Tutorial: PVC Pipe Climber



This tutorial shows how to create a pvc climbing accessory for your pet rats.  The concept and construction are simple, but the instructions are long!



  • 4 lengths PVC pipe, 1/” diameter, 24” long
  • 4 PVC connectors, 3-way
  • 4 PVC adapters (non-threaded to threaded)
  • Fleece for lounging pad
  • Sisal rope for climbing


  • Hand saw
  • Measuring stick
  • Drill
  • Glue (optional)



Step one:  Measure halfway down the four lengths of pipe and carefully cut using your handsaw.  You should now have eight lengths of pipe measuring 12” each.  Cut one of the lengths in half again, giving you two pieces measuring 6” each as pictured.



Step two:   assemble the structure.  In this example, the three-way connectors had threading on one opening, so I had to use an additional adapter piece.  Hopefully you can find connectors that aren’t threaded and save a little money!  You could use glue to reinforce the structure, but I chose not to so it could be disassembled for cleaning.


Step three:  drill holes.  This portion of the tutorial is optional -I thought the rats would have better climbing traction if sisal rope was wrapped around some of the PVC pipe, which is pretty slick and difficult to climb.    However, you definitely don’t need to include the rope.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the drilling step.  Using your largest drill bit, drill holes in at least two lengths of PVC.  Thread one end of the rope through your first set of holes.  If you have trouble, try pulling the rope through using a pair of pliers.


Step four: Wrap with rope.   Wind one length of the PVC pipe completely with rope and finish with a knot at the end.  You can optionally choose to use glue to help hold the rope in place – I didn’t, because I plan to move the rope around as needed.


Step five: braided rope.  For this portion, cut three lengths of rope (about 4’ each) and tie them to the upper portion of the structure.  Braid the rope and wind around the legs of the structure as desired.  Depending on the length of your braid, you could be really elaborate.


Step six:  fleece wrap 1 of 2.  In this example, I used a strip of leftover blue fleece measuring about 8” wide by 26” long.  Stitch the ends together to form a loop, and slide over the short ends of the structure as pictured.


Step seven: fleece wrap 2 of 2.  For the second wrap, I used a strip of fleece measuring about 8” wide by 12” long; just long enough to wrap around the long side of the structure as pictured.  The strips of fleece will overlap to create an extra-cozy snuggle spot for your rats.


Whew!  Add rats and enjoy your completed project!  Here’s Santino enjoying the climber for the first time.  You may also consider fastening the structure to the side of your cage with zip ties for more stability.


This is how the finished project looks in the cage – with Huey and Lewis exploring.  On the right side, I also clipped some hanging treats (link).


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