Of all the pests you’re likely to encounter in your home, rats are regularly at the top of the list of animals you really don’t want to see. Whether it’s a brown rat, a street rat, a Hanover rat or a common rat, these pests can cause real damage to your home and can spread diseases that harm your pets, so keeping them out is essential.
We’ve already talked about ways on how to keep rats out of your house this winter but is there a way for rats to enter your home in spite of your best efforts? You’ve probably seen it in comedy sketches and movies, but is it possible?
Can rats swim up your toilet?
As we usually think of rats as a sewer-dwelling pest that hides during the day and rummages through our bins at night, we don’t tend to give them a second thought and ask, can rats swim? And, as you can probably guess by now, not only can they swim, they are excellent swimmers.
As National Geographic pointed out, rats can swim for three days and can easily climb up sewer pipes just a few inches in diameter. As they are happy to eat just about anything, including undigested food in faeces, it’s no surprise that they see a sewer pipe as an easy way to get food. At the same time, those pipes are also gateways to your toilet, your bathroom and beyond.
Why are rats coming to your house in the first place?
To understand why you might find a rat in your toilet if all other entrances to your house are well-protected, we need to look at what attracts rats to your home in the first place.
As with any pest, rats are constantly looking to spread to areas that offer them safety and food in abundance, as well as a place to nest in comfort and provide for their offspring. Your home ticks all the boxes – a warm, cosy location with plenty of hiding places and an unlimited supply of food. To a rat’s mind, it’s heaven!
Of course, a rat doesn’t know that a sewer pipe will lead to your bathroom, but if it decides to explore it, it will soon find its way to your toilet. Preventing this from happening is mostly done through the sewage system itself – older pipes are more susceptible to being damaged by rats, whereas modern piping can prevent rats from chewing their way in or dissuades them from swimming up from the sewage by design alone.
Another way to stop it from happening is to install a valve or a barrier device into your sewer line. These are designed specifically for the purpose of keeping rats out while allowing your sewage system to operate normally and your bathroom rat-free.
Once you spot the rat in the toilet bowl, most likely in a state of exhaustion and shock, there is one thing you can do to try and remove it yourself, but whether you attempt it yourself or decide to call a specialist, do not try to flush the toilet! This will most likely panic the rat and it could try to jump out or even attack you.
The safer alternative is to call a specialist that can remove the rat for you, meaning either a plumber or a pest control technician. Both will be able to handle the situation for you with specialized tools at their disposal. They will also be able to advise you on how to prevent it happening in the future.
And remember, whether the rat in the toilet is the only one in your home or if you’ve noticed signs of a wider infestation, our certified pest control technicians are always just a call away and will be happy to deal with any kind of pest infestation you might encounter!