Seriously, Can Rats Get In Your Toilet?

Author: Kurt Treftz, Cascade Pest Control

Yes, dear reader, rats can get in your toilet. But thankfully it isn’t very common. That being said if you have a basement toilet or after heavy rains, you might be more likely to get this nasty surprise. King and Seattle counties even have a Sewer Baiting program to try and control the rat population in the sewers and reduce the likelihood of discovering a rodent in your commode.

How do rats get into the sewer lines?

Rats can access sewer lines that run to your house through broken or faulty side sewers. Many rats can live in sewer systems where they find access to lines that connect to homes. Older pipes are more susceptible so plumbing in older homes may be at risk. Rats sometimes come up through the toilet because other pipes they are seeking to access are too small. This is also why you mostly find juvenile rats in your toilet and not full-grown alpha rats who are simply too big.

Why do rats get into sewer lines?

Often rats follow the scent of food washed down through the kitchen sink. Juvenile rats might also find their way through the sewer lines while trying to escape from adult rats. Heavy rains can also contribute to opportunities for rats to access sewer lines when the main sewer system floods and drives them to side sewer lines.

What do I do if I find a rat in my toilet?

Gah! You find a rat in your toilet. What do you do?

  • Take a deep breath
  • Close the lid. Hopefully the closed lid will prevent it from jumping out. (That is, if it is still alive. Many rats will drown as they are unable to tread water for so long and they can’t make their way out of the toilet bowl).
  • If the rat is still alive, squirt some dish soap (degreaser) into the bowl under the shut lid. This will break the surface tension of the water and remove the oil from the rat’s fur so that it can’t stay afloat.
  • Flush away! The rat can usually be flushed back down the way it came. You might need to flush multiple times. (Maybe even more for your peace of mind than the actual act of getting the rat down the pipe.)
  • Worse Case scenario: The rat escapes or doesn’t flush down with repeated attempts. Keep the lid closed and call a rat control professional. If you need to step away from the bathroom, make sure you close the door and set a bait trap if possible.

How can I prevent rats from getting in my toilet?

Of course, the best thing would be to make sure that rats never access your sewer lines in the first place. So, what steps can you take? Well, a good defense is a great place to start.

  • Keep an eye out for rats outside your home. If you see a burrow (particularly if it gets reopened after you’ve fill it in), it might be a sign of active rats.
  • Inspect your side sewer. Seattle homeowners are responsible for their side sewers and they should be inspected every 8-10 years.
  • Reduce food and grease waste in your drains. Garbage disposal may be convenient but try to minimize their use as rats will follow the smell through the sewers.
  • Clean your kitchen drain monthly. You can use a simple solution of one part baking soda followed by one part vinegar and rinsed with boiling water.

With the area’s Sewer Baiting program and vigilant homeowner awareness, you will likely never encounter a rat in your toilet, but it is better safe than sorry. If you do find yourself in a worst-case situation, call the rat control experts at Cascade Pest Control at 888-989-8979.

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