If you are like most people, you probably assume that finding a sewer rat in the toilet is an isolated occurrence that can never happen to you. The truth is, if your toilet is connected to a public sewer system, rats can and do come up the toilet in search of food and shelter. Knowing how to prevent it and what to do if a rat suddenly appears in your toilet will quell the chaos and keep your family safe from these disgusting creatures.
Are you at risk of rats in the toilet?
Although rats can enter the drain and swim up the pipe to your toilet from a private sewer system, unless you have breaks in the pipes or some other means of access, it is unlikely. However, if your toilet is connected to the city sewer, especially if that sewer system combines waste water and storm drains, you may be at risk. Rats enter the sewer system through storm grates and manholes and can work their way into your drains and come up the toilet.
How do rats come up a drain filled with water?
Rats are amazing swimmers and can tread water for three to four days without drowning and can swim up to half a mile to find dry land. That means that if the sewer system is flooded with storm water, rats are able to survive for several days before locating your toilet drain. Once they do, they use their sharp claws to swim and climb through the pipe. In fact, rats can climb vertical objects easily and aren't opposed to using your drain as a climbing surface. According to National Geographic, rats can also squeeze through any hole as long as their heads fit through because their ribs are attached to the spine on hinges that allow the ribs to collapse. These aggressive rodents even take time to rest and catch a breath in the air pocket in the trap below the toilet to give them the added oxygen they need to finish the trip to the toilet bowl.
Why do rats climb up toilet drains?
Sometimes, rats are simply seeking dry ground and come upon your drain by accident. Other times, rats are seeking a source of food and your drains provide them with a tasty meal. Food particles from the kitchen sink and garbage disposal may attract them, but they aren't opposed to eating the undigested portions of fecal matter either. When the food supply in the sewer is low, rats may follow your pipes because they are a source of food.
How do you prevent rats in the toilet?
Rat guards installed in the pipes by your plumber are an effective way to keep rats out of your toilet drain. But there are some measures you can take to reduce the chances that rats will find your home inviting.
Use the garbage disposal sparingly and always rinse it thoroughly with plain water to flush away food particles.
Clean your sink daily and pour bleach down the drain to remove food odors and prevent buildup of grease and food particles in the drain. You can also use white vinegar or baking soda to keep the drain clean and odor free.
Avoid flushing old food down the toilet.
Keep the toilet lid down. If rats do come up in the toilet, this will prevent them from entering your home.
What do you do if you find a rat in your toilet?
Finding a rat in the toilet is not pleasant experience, but it is no time to panic. Follow these steps to get rid of or contain the rat.
Close the lid to the toilet. This won't force the rat to leave, but it will contain him in the toilet bowl.
Squirt dish detergent into the toilet bowl through the crack around the rim of the lid. This breaks the surface tension created by grease and makes it harder for the rat to remain afloat.
Flush the toilet several times to flood the bowl and send the rat on his merry way. This doesn't always work, but it is worth a try.
Call your local plumber. He is trained to capture and remove the rat with a special noose designed for that purpose.
If you are worried about rats coming up your toilet, talk to your plumber. He can assess your sewer system and install a rat guard if necessary to keep rats out. You can learn more about various services offered by local plumbers over at this website.
As a teenager, I joined my local swim team and soon became a champion swimmer. I have been swimming my entire life, and my love for water pushed me to purchase a home with a large in-ground pool. Strangely enough, after years of swimming I had no idea how to take care of the pool. I knew that I needed to add chemicals to get rid of potentially dangerous bacteria, and I also knew that chemicals kept algae at bay. I didn't know how to choose from hydrogen peroxide, salt, or chlorine additives. I definitely had no idea about shock, and I didn't know how many chemicals to add. After some trial and error, a very green pool, and a necessary draining, I figured it out. I have compiled for you a number of blogs and resources so you do not have to make costly mistakes like me.