We’ve all heard horror stories about a friend of a friend who found a rat splashing around in their toilet bowl, but could it really happen to you? The idea of lifting the lid in the middle of the night and finding a yellow-fanged rodent swimming laps around the bowl may seem too absurd (and disturbing) to be true but, unfortunately, it’s no urban myth.
That’s right, rats really can crawl up into your toilet bowl. The real question is how and why they do this, as uncovering their motivation and entry routes in the only way to keep them out.
Can rats really be found in your toilet bowl?
Unfortunately, yes, rats really can climb up into your toilet bowl through the toilet waste pipe. Although fairly uncommon, it’s not unheard of for rats to find their way into the lavatory, as sewers are the preferred habitat of the urban rat. But how and why do rats crawl up your toilet, and how can you stop them from getting in?
How do rats find their way into your toilet bowl?
Rats thrive in sewers, as these underground passages provide them with food, shelter, and protection from humans and other animals. Every city’s underworld houses millions of rats and, as excellent swimmers, they survive very well in this watery, subterranean habitat.
Unfortunately, no sewer in the world is large enough to house every rat in the surrounding area, as they reproduce and multiply rapidly in favorable conditions. When the sewers become too crowded, large numbers of rats must make their way to the surface in search of food and shelter.
Many of these explorers end up in houses, and the main entry point to the house from the sewer is via the toilet. Rats are great climbers, as well as swimmers, and are able to squeeze their bodies through tiny holes. Climbing up a sewer pipe to get into your toilet is, therefore, no great challenge for them.
Why do rats crawl up into toilet bowls?
So, it’s perfectly easy for a rat to make the short journey from its sewer home to your house via the toilet pipes, but why do they do this?
Well, as mentioned earlier, rats breed at an alarming rate and the sewers, being their ideal environment, quickly become overcrowded. Too many rats mean that even the abundant food and shelter of the sewers isn’t enough to sustain the whole population and, inevitably, many of the rodents must look for an alternative home.
Rats also have a very low tolerance for hunger. In fact, they are one of the only mammalian species that must eat and drink every single day in order to survive.
If push comes to shove, they can even survive on the undigested food found in feces (both their own and that of other animals).
The all-consuming need to consume often drives them to seek out sustenance wherever they can – including in the sewer pipes leading to your toilet.
Once inside your house, rats will quickly establish nests and begin to breed in the warm, comfortable environment that is your family home. It should be of no surprise, given their sewer-dwelling habits, but rats harbor a number of harmful pathogens that can be transferred to food items and utensils in your house. This means that preventative measures against rats are vital for protecting yourself (and others in your house) from potential sickness.
How can you rat-proof your toilet?
The good news is that stopping rats from getting into your toilet bowl is very easy. Simply install a grate, valve or cap over your toilet pipe to create a physical barrier against rodents trying to find their way inside. This is a one-time solution that is 100% rat-proof and is definitely worth doing if you live in a city or any other densely populated area where there are large numbers of rats.
Other ways rats can get into your house and how to stop them
You may have found a way to stop rats from crawling up your toilet, but this isn’t their only route of entry to your house.
If you suspect you have rodents, you can locate their entry points by looking for droppings, grease marks and other signs of activity both inside and outside your house. Monitoring baits can also be used to identify areas with high levels of rodent activity.
Rats are most likely to be getting into your house via the following routes:
- Under doors and through gaps around window frames: Rats can get in through tiny gaps, so even the small spaces under doors around window frames are no obstacle to them. Install door sweeps and screens to block off this route of entry.
- Through pipes and drains: The toilet is just one way for rats to get into your house. Every pipe and drain is an opportunity for them to gain entry, so get to work sealing gaps and installing grates wherever you have pipes leading into your home and basement.
- Through open doors and windows: It may be tempting to leave your doors and windows open on warm, summer days, but this makes it very easy for rats to get into your house. Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible to prevent rodents from walking in.
It’s no myth – rats have an unsettling habit of making their way into homes through sewer pipes. Once rats get into toilet waste pipes, they are only a few short steps from your toilet bowl. Finding a rat in the toilet can be a traumatizing experience but, fortunately, preventing it is simple.
If you live in a heavily populated urban area where there are lots of rats. Install a grate or valve over your sewer pipe to stop rats from getting in.