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do rats really come up the toilet?

Can Rats Come Up Through Toilets?

(Last Updated On: June 4, 2022)

There have been numerous accounts of rats swimming through sewers and emerging from toilet bowls in people’s homes. Sewer rats, which tend to be Norway rats, are highly skilled swimmers.

Rats can swim through drainpipes and sewers for long distances and emerge from toilet bowls.

Rats can swim, hold their breath under water for 3 minutes, and tread open waters for 3 days. Their flexible bodies allow them to squeeze through drainpipes before emerging from toilets.

You can prevent this by installing a one-way valve so that the rat can’t continue up into the toilet bowl. Consequently, the rat will be forced to turn around and return to the sewers.

Do Rats Really Come Up Toilets?

Rats use their feet to paddle in the water, while their long tails are used as rudders to steer them.

Frontiers in Physiology found that rats can vary their paddling rate to conserve energy when swimming, minimizing the risk of drowning.

In addition to being fast movers, rats are endurance swimmers. As mentioned, some sewer rats can tread through water for up to 3 days and hold their breath underwater for up to 3 minutes.

The University of Nebraska revealed that sewer rats can swim through pipes for up to half a mile. Their collapsible rib cages mean they can hold their breath underwater for long periods of time.

This allows them to squeeze through drainpipes and swim-up toilet bowls.

how do rats end up in toilets?

How Do Rats End Up In Toilets?

Rats usually end up in toilet bowls due to the design of the toilet. Most toilets are fitted with a curved pipe that connects the toilet bowl to the sewer system.

This S-shaped pipe (also known as a trap or S-bend) is designed to block the smell from the sewer system from reaching the toilet bowl.

However, due to its shape, the S-bend pipe contains air pockets that sewer rats can take advantage of when swimming up drains. It provides them with the air needed to swim up the rest of the way up drainpipes rather than drowning.

They also have flexible rib cages that can contract. This allows them to squeeze through tight spaces. That makes it possible for rats to swim through thin drain pipes and get inside toilet bowls.

Why Do Rats Come Up Through Toilets?

When there’s food scarcity in their environment, they seek out new food sources.

Sewers and drainpipes provide an alternative food source, as partly digested human waste can be a holdover meal for a starving rat. Also, some people flush food waste down the toilet.

Can Rats Open Toilet Lids?

Most rats aren’t strong enough to open toilet lids, so the chances of this happening are slim. You are more likely to find them wading in the water inside your toilet bowl.

Rats are good jumpers, capable of leaping up to 3 feet in the air. This means that a rat can jump out of your toilet bowl and enter your home if you leave your toilet lid open.

How Often Do Rats Come Up Toilet Bowls?

It’s rare for rats to come up toilets, but it’s more common if you live in a big city.

The high population of rats in large urban centers puts pressure on the sewer system due to the amount of human waste, which encourages rodents to spread.

What To Do If A Rat Is In Your Toilet

Finding a rat wading inside the water in your toilet bowl can be startling, but try to remain calm.

Shut the toilet lid and put something heavy on top. This removes any possibility of the rat pushing open the toilet lid and jumping from the toilet bowl into your home.

Tightly sealing the toilet lid also encourages the rat to return to the sewer.

Once you’ve blocked the rat’s entry to your home, call a rodent control service to remove the rat.

How To Stop Rats from Coming Up Your Toilet Bowl

You can’t prevent rats from attempting to enter your toilet, but you can keep them out of your home.

Ensure that your toilet lid is closed when not in use. Although this won’t stop a rat from entering your toilet bowl, it prevents them from getting out without you realizing what’s happened.

You can block sewer rats from entering your toilet bowl by installing a non-return valve. This is a stainless steel flap that’s attached to a sewer drain. Non-return valves are designed so that water and waste materials from toilets only move in one direction.

Installing a non-return valve inside your drainpipe prevents rats from entering your toilet bowl, even if they manage to swim up the drainpipe. As a result, the rats are forced to return to the sewers.

Most people who find rats inside their toilet bowls try to kill rats through poison or bludgeoning. However, these desperate attempts to kill sewer rats aren’t recommended.

can rats open toilet lids?

How To Rat-Proof Your Toilet

Here are some measures you can take to keep rats from entering your home via the toilet:

Keep The Toilet Lid Closed

You can’t prevent rats from swimming up toilet drains, but keeping the toilet lid closed when the toilet isn’t used prevents sewer rats from leaping out of the toilet and into your home.

This contains the problem to one area and limits the risk of rats nesting in your home and the spread of disease. Also, a pest control expert will find it easier to locate and remove the rat.

Install a Rat Blocker

Rat blockers are one-way valves that only allow water and waste materials to flow in one direction. These devices will prevent sewer rats from swimming up drains and getting into toilet bowls.

If you’ve had the same toilet for decades, your existing toilet likely isn’t fitted with a one-way valve.

Fix Plumbing Problems

Sewer rats are more likely to enter a toilet if drainpipes have cracks and compromised areas due to general wear and tear.

Therefore, if you suspect that you have broken plumbing, you need to hire a plumber to conduct repairs to fortify your toilet system against rats.