Eek! There's a Rat in My Toilet!
A Rat in the Toilet
A rat coming up the toilet - An urban legend?
I had heard stories of rats coming up toilets but always dismissed them as just an urban legend. That was until the morning I lifted the lid on one of our toilets to well.....here is the photo. I decided to call him Willard.
I'm not normally afraid of encountering wild creatures and don't have any phobias about snakes or spiders, but when I lifted the lid and found Willard dead in the toilet it caught me by surprise and I screamed like a little girl!
Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for Willard) he was deceased when I found him.
I did a little research and discovered that other people have found surprises when they looked in their toilets, too. On this page I'm sharing what I learned and what you can do to prevent rats and other creatures from getting into your toilet.
Hey, at least you can see by the photo that we keep our toilet clean!
(All photos by the author, Vicki Green - PNW Travels, unless otherwise credited)
Am I the only one to find a rat in my toilet? - Or Have You Found a Rat in Your Toilet, too?
Have you ever found a rat in your toilet?
Here's another rat in the toilet - and this one is alive!
Why do we think rats are creepy?
What is it about rats?
Rats are members of the rodent family and have many relatives that we think of as cute and cuddly like squirrels, beavers, guinea pigs, porcupines and chipmunks. Even their nearest cousin, the mouse doesn't arouse the same level of disgust and fear. Could it possibly be because of the scary movies we've all seen that involve rats?
How do rats get in the toilet
So how do rats get in to the toilet?
Rats usually come up from the sewer
Rats get up into toilets by following the scent of food washed down drains from your home to the sewer system. While searching for food they can climb up through your home's sewer pipe that connects to the sewer. Unable to reach the kitchen sink they can come up into the toilet bowl. They can also descend from your roof through your sewer pipe vent and fall down into your plumbing.
Another Rat in the Toilet
What to do if you find a rat in your toilet?
Here are some suggestions for getting rid of a rat in your toilet
If the rat is deceased you can simply scoop it out with a net, small bucket or other container and bury it or dispose of it in the garbage. If it is still alive it poses a challenge. You have a several choices:
1, Keep the lid down on the toilet until it either finds it's way back down the drain or drowns
2. Flush it back down the drain! Reportedly the best way to do this is to squirt a little dishwashing liquid under the lid into the bowl wait a couple of minutes then flush. Supposedly the detergent helps to break the surface tension on the water and make the rat more slippery to help make it more likely to go down the drain
3. Call a pest control expert to remove the rat from the toilet
Whatever you do, try to prevent it from jumping out of the toilet into your home!
What to do if a live rat is loose in your house?
If a rat takes up residence in your home you can either seek professional help from a pest control company or you can try trapping the rat yourself. I prefer to use non-lethal methods like Havahart traps to remove animals from my home and outbuildings. For those who prefer more lethal outcomes there are also many other traps available that will kill rats. I would caution against using poisons since they can be ingested by children, pets or other non-targeted species. Many people don't realize that if their pet or a predator species like an owl eats a rat that has eaten poison, the poison is still effective and can cause injury or death to them, too.
What could be worse than finding a rat in the toilet?
How to Help Keep Rats and Other Critters Out of Your Toilet
Some Preventative Measures
*Keep your kitchen sink rinsed clean and use garbage disposals as little as possible.
*Rinse out your kitchen sink drain at least once or twice a month using either 1 cup of bleach or, as an alternative to using bleach, 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar and rinse with boiling water.
*Never pour grease down the drain.
*Keep the toilet lid shut to prevent any unwanted visitors who come up the toilet from getting loose in your home
*There are products that can be installed in your toilet that have a one-way valve or flap that prevents anything from coming up from the sewer into your toilet
Finding a Rat in the Toilet in the News
- KOMO TV Newscast about rats in the Seattle sewer system
It's a bathroom scare like no other. Your private moments in the bathroom shattered by a water-logged rodent: a rat in the toilet! It's such a concern in Seattle that the Health Department not only keeps a map of all the rat sightings, it hunts rats
- Seattle Times Newspaper article about rats in toilets and sewers
A rat in the toilet? Time to call the county's "sewer baiter"
- The Crescent News - Defiance, Ohio
Squirrels, frogs can end up in the toilet.
Domesticated Rats make great pets!
They just have bad PR!
Despite their bad public relations image, domesticated rats make excellent pets. They are not aggressive, diseased or dirty animals.
Rats as pets are very clean, social and fun. They are very intelligent and can be taught to use a litter box and to do simple tricks, such as stay and sit and will often learn their name. Rats will often develop a connection with their owner, becoming very affectionate and wanting daily attention. They also enjoy playing and snuggling with their owners.
© 2010 Vicki Green