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Eek! There's a Rat in My Toilet!

A Rat in the Toilet

Dead rat in the toilet

Dead rat in the toilet

A rat coming up the toilet - An urban legend?

I had heard stories of rats coming up toilets but always dismissed them as just an urban legend. That was until the morning I lifted the lid on one of our toilets to well.....here is the photo. I decided to call him Willard.

I'm not normally afraid of encountering wild creatures and don't have any phobias about snakes or spiders, but when I lifted the lid and found Willard dead in the toilet it caught me by surprise and I screamed like a little girl!

Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for Willard) he was deceased when I found him.

I did a little research and discovered that other people have found surprises when they looked in their toilets, too. On this page I'm sharing what I learned and what you can do to prevent rats and other creatures from getting into your toilet.

Hey, at least you can see by the photo that we keep our toilet clean!

(All photos by the author, Vicki Green - PNW Travels, unless otherwise credited)

Am I the only one to find a rat in my toilet? - Or Have You Found a Rat in Your Toilet, too?

Here's another rat in the toilet - and this one is alive!

Why do we think rats are creepy?

What is it about rats?

Rats are members of the rodent family and have many relatives that we think of as cute and cuddly like squirrels, beavers, guinea pigs, porcupines and chipmunks. Even their nearest cousin, the mouse doesn't arouse the same level of disgust and fear. Could it possibly be because of the scary movies we've all seen that involve rats?

How do rats get in the toilet

An illustration of how a rat gets into the toilet

An illustration of how a rat gets into the toilet

So how do rats get in to the toilet?

Rats usually come up from the sewer

Rats get up into toilets by following the scent of food washed down drains from your home to the sewer system. While searching for food they can climb up through your home's sewer pipe that connects to the sewer. Unable to reach the kitchen sink they can come up into the toilet bowl. They can also descend from your roof through your sewer pipe vent and fall down into your plumbing.

Another Rat in the Toilet

What to do if you find a rat in your toilet?

Here are some suggestions for getting rid of a rat in your toilet

If the rat is deceased you can simply scoop it out with a net, small bucket or other container and bury it or dispose of it in the garbage. If it is still alive it poses a challenge. You have a several choices:

1, Keep the lid down on the toilet until it either finds it's way back down the drain or drowns

2. Flush it back down the drain! Reportedly the best way to do this is to squirt a little dishwashing liquid under the lid into the bowl wait a couple of minutes then flush. Supposedly the detergent helps to break the surface tension on the water and make the rat more slippery to help make it more likely to go down the drain

3. Call a pest control expert to remove the rat from the toilet

Whatever you do, try to prevent it from jumping out of the toilet into your home!


rat-in-the-toilet

What to do if a live rat is loose in your house?

If a rat takes up residence in your home you can either seek professional help from a pest control company or you can try trapping the rat yourself. I prefer to use non-lethal methods like Havahart traps to remove animals from my home and outbuildings. For those who prefer more lethal outcomes there are also many other traps available that will kill rats. I would caution against using poisons since they can be ingested by children, pets or other non-targeted species. Many people don't realize that if their pet or a predator species like an owl eats a rat that has eaten poison, the poison is still effective and can cause injury or death to them, too.

What could be worse than finding a rat in the toilet?

How to Help Keep Rats and Other Critters Out of Your Toilet

Some Preventative Measures

*Keep your kitchen sink rinsed clean and use garbage disposals as little as possible.

*Rinse out your kitchen sink drain at least once or twice a month using either 1 cup of bleach or, as an alternative to using bleach, 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar and rinse with boiling water.

*Never pour grease down the drain.

*Keep the toilet lid shut to prevent any unwanted visitors who come up the toilet from getting loose in your home

*There are products that can be installed in your toilet that have a one-way valve or flap that prevents anything from coming up from the sewer into your toilet


Finding a Rat in the Toilet in the News

Pet Rats

Domesticated Rats make great pets!

They just have bad PR!

Despite their bad public relations image, domesticated rats make excellent pets. They are not aggressive, diseased or dirty animals.

Rats as pets are very clean, social and fun. They are very intelligent and can be taught to use a litter box and to do simple tricks, such as stay and sit and will often learn their name. Rats will often develop a connection with their owner, becoming very affectionate and wanting daily attention. They also enjoy playing and snuggling with their owners.


© 2010 Vicki Green

Feel free to comment or share stories about anything unusual that turned up in your toilet!

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on September 04, 2019:

A while back, I asked our pest control man about this possibility. He said he'd seen frogs in the toilet, so rats could enter that way also.

Before that, I'd seen a device that you can install which will keep them out. I checked on Amazon and it's called the Buffalo Backflow Valve - Stops Backflow, Rodents and Bad Smells

Osman F on January 10, 2019:

It's disgusting but at the end you have to face it if happens. The tips provided are very helpful in such situations. I always prefer precaution measures like good housekeeping and daily wastes removal. Sinks should be cleaned properly and Toilet lids closed all the time.

GalaxyRat on April 08, 2017:

Will never look in toilet again the same way. I don't have a thing about wild rats (I adore pet ones), but this just freaked me out!

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 26, 2015:

This has always been a fear of mine and you've made me realize it is possible, not some crazy thing that happens as a part of urban legend. I am especially fearful going in the middle of the night and when I'm visiting large cities. From now on I am always turning on the light even in the middle of the night. Sharing and G+ing.

Sam on June 08, 2015:

That's disgusting ...

How they even could breath inside the pipes ...

definitely, I am going to put some hydrochloric acid inside the seat and flush it 3 times before and after I use it.

WTF......... Snakes & Rats next to my balls? oooh god.

Vicki Green (author) from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on November 21, 2013:

@BritFlorida: Believe me I always look before I sit down and keep listening for any weird noises that sounds like something swimming or splashing around!

Jackie Jackson from Fort Lauderdale on November 21, 2013:

Ewwww! I don't mind rats - we live waterfront so we see them often - but in the toilet? I just wonder if one could arrive whilst I'm... um ... sitting there? Ewwww!

MissRubyStars on August 17, 2013:

@geosum: I agree!!!

MissRubyStars on August 17, 2013:

@geosum: I agree!!!

TommysPal on August 02, 2013:

I always wondered if it were true, critters getting in the toilet. I'm a believer now. I don't think it would freak me out, I would be more concerned about saving it's life. Great lens, thanks for sharing.

liny-tan on May 17, 2013:

i haven't experienced such things but i think rat incident in the toilet is manageable for me....but snake in the toilet is something which really scares me.

liny-tan on May 17, 2013:

i haven't experienced such things but i think rat incident in the toilet is manageable for me....but snake in the toilet is something which really scares me.

geosum on May 14, 2013:

Had to come and look to satisfy my curiosity. Fortunately I've never experienced it and hope to keep it that way.

wiseriverman on May 11, 2013:

This is a very interesting subject but a difficult one for me. I have what I think must be a primal and strong dislike of rats and mice. I hate to even think about them. I have three cats (which I love) that are always on patrol. I couldn't live comfortably without my cats knowing that they are a great prevention to having rodents in my home.

Takkhis on February 21, 2013:

Well, my mom hates rats because they are dirty! :)

casnider on February 19, 2013:

This lens is very effective on a visceral level. People do either love or hate rats. I doubt there is an in between. Blessed!

Cara on February 05, 2013:

We're not even allowed to say the word rat at my Moms house. We have to call them "long-tails". Of course with the majority of grandchildren being boys, that's the wrong thing to let them know!

HalloweenRecipes on January 29, 2013:

I never heard of a rat getting into a toilet bowl ... and I'm glad!

Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on January 22, 2013:

I don't mind rats - but not feral, not in the house, and as for in the toilet ................screams loudly and jumps on chair! By the way I was unable to do the poll about other creepy things in the toilet, as the choices wouldn't load. Possibly a good thing? Can't think of anything much worse in the UK. I don't live in an area where there are adders (at least I've never seen any) so a rat is about as bad as it could possibly get for me! Eeeeek!

Deadicated LM on January 05, 2013:

Ew, good Lens. In NYC (especially in the Bronx) where I live; I'm really surprised I haven't; some say that there is one rat for every person, and they were some of the first illegal immigrants to come to the New World via the ships that sailed here. Reminds me of the expression "Like Rats Jumping Off A Sinking Ship".

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on December 28, 2012:

Glad that wasn't me that found that rat. i have a phobia on rats. I will be checking the Loo before I sit on it. I haven't heard of rats doing this but now I will be taking note. Blessed.

DarrenEPB on December 16, 2012:

I did a job (I'm a pest controller) in Tottenham a couple of years ago and the lady said every morning they got up there was paw prints on the toilet bowl and they found rat dropping's the time before they called me. They used to leave the seat up for their young son in the night. This is a great post, this is no myth as many people thought.

Jogalog on December 12, 2012:

This has scared me! I don't like spiders in the toilet but I suppose at least I wouldn't miss a rat before sitting down!

lizbradshaw on November 01, 2012:

Rats really do get a bad rap, when they actually make great pets. I would highly recommend a rat over a gerbil or hamster. Incredibly smart and playful, they bond strongly with their owners, and rarely bite. My daughter had to little males that lived for several years before passing away within a week of each other. it was amazing how sad I was when they were gone. Never would have expected it... Thanks for sharing this.

Escapes2 on August 19, 2012:

I think I would run screaming from my bathroom if I found a rat or snake in the toilet!

SailingPassion LM on August 13, 2012:

Oh my - I really am not sure what I would do if I found any of these things in my toilet!

MarcStorm LM on July 12, 2012:

Oh man! This should be a Halloween themed article lol I always check the toilet before i sit on it! One thing I don't like about this article is about the advice you give on getting a rat out of the toilet, drowning it!?! Get a cardboard box with some food in it and scoop him in and shut it, take him outside. I hate when people kill mice or bugs when the critters are just doing what comes natural. That's like killing someone for getting in your way or being annoying! Fear is the worst! Makes people react impulsively without thinking. I do like that you added tips though, like the one about a plumber or someone installing a screen type blocker so they can't even get into your humble abode. It is a helpful article and it does happen.

queenofduvetcover on July 05, 2012:

I'm scared to use the potty now!! lol Great lens! =D

JodiFromFlorida on June 24, 2012:

The rat I could handle but a snake...

Cathy Slaght from St. Petersburg, Fl on June 18, 2012:

Yes, EEK says it all- but learned a little about rats! don't think i want one for a pet tho- but enjoyed this lens!

biminibahamas on May 15, 2012:

Found a frog once ... and that was AFTER I sat down ... talk about scaring the s#@t out of you, lol!

julieannbrady on May 10, 2012:

Well, EEK! is the right word for finding a rat in one's toilet and probably "Oh, sh*t!" too. I've not had the pleasure and think it would be pretty freaky ... more so if it is alive.

ResearchAddict on April 30, 2012:

Oh my. This is creepy!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on April 13, 2012:

Oh Me! I have heard of a Rat in the Toilet but never have had this experience. Thank goodness. Blessed.

SilmarwenLinwelin on April 07, 2012:

If I found one I'd probably try to save him!

writerkath on March 03, 2012:

Hi again Vicki! Ok... when I saw this lens, I thought... "No way!" Out of sheer morbid curiosity I HAD to read this to see if it was for real.

I nearly screamed myself when I saw the photos! Oh my gosh... and the snakes/spiders/ etc?

I wish I wasn't so spooked by things like that, but I guess I just proved that I am! LOL!

Up north (NH), we have field mice, but for some reason I'm not too freaked out when I find them. Can't do snakes or rats or icky spikers though. Or bats. :) So, bottom line: This is one of the most unique lenses I have had the honor of reading - you did an absolutely fabulous job! I wish I could bestow more than one blessing... :) Totally Squid Angel Blessed! :) Hugs, Kath

kathysart on February 03, 2012:

Ohh my gosh horrible! When we lived in Hawaii we had a lot of rats roaming around.. HUGE ones. When we bought our house on the Big Island there were two inside the house when we moved in... freaky! I cannot decide which is worse though on Hawaii, the rats, the cane spiders or those horrible centipedes. EWE!! I miss Hawaii but I sure don't miss those horrible creatures. On the other hand I had a pet rat once and they can be very cute so thinking it over I guess I would rather have a rat in the house than a cane spider or a centipede. Ohh those 2 are just HORRIBLE!! Angel blessed lens.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on January 31, 2012:

@PNWtravels: Lol...oh my now that is funny.

EvergreenArticles on January 30, 2012:

Oh my god!!!! Now I'm afraid to sit on the lid and get bitten =/

Shari O'Leary from Minnesota on January 30, 2012:

I would kind of hope the rat was still alive if I found one in my toilet. I think it'd make a cute pet. I don't mind snakes or bats either, but don't let me find a spider. Yikes!

Vicki Green (author) from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on January 30, 2012:

@tvyps: No we didn't flush him - we scooped him out with a bucket and gave him a decent burial.

Teri Villars from Phoenix, Arizona on January 29, 2012:

'MMMmmm, you dirty rat! Did you flush him back down? He looks like rat soup in there! ha! Out here, I have seen scorpions in the toilet, but never a rat. They don't come up through the drain, they fall in and can't get out. It might help if they made a Life Alert for scorpions that they could push if they "fallen but they can't get up." Sorry, I must be bored! I've heard of people flushing alligators but they don't come back out, or at least I hope not! Blessed!

miaponzo on January 29, 2012:

Oh My God!!! You have scared me!!!! YUK!!!!!!!! Blessed for sharing :) :(

iWriteaLot on January 29, 2012:

EEek! I actually just jumped at my own shadow! LOL Creepy lens, that's for sure. But well done! Blessed

Heidi from Benson, IL on January 29, 2012:

Sounds scary! Considering I've heard of somebody's pet boa constrictor escaping and getting into the plumbing, rats aren't too surprising and aren't even the scariest thing that can get into people's toilets. I'd be careful lifting the lid on my toilet though.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on January 29, 2012:

This page is my grandson's worst nightmare. (It's gonna make me a little nervous in the bathroom for a few days too I can bet.) I am not sure what I would do if I ever found a rat in the toilet. I almost didn't believe it til I saw the diagram of how he got there. So glad you included that ;)

sherridan on January 29, 2012:

We used to have pet rats and they were adorable, but I shan't be doing any more nighttime wees!

LampsPest on January 23, 2012:

Ok, I got to go to the restroom.... Any suggestions???

Great lens

jadehorseshoe on December 26, 2011:

FUN and useful lens.

flycatcherrr on December 24, 2011:

Eww!!

qatoiletbowldq1 on December 07, 2011:

Your lens about toilet bowl is very interesting and useful, at the same time your squidoo theme is unique and perfect,great job. To your success.

Kristin from Long Beach, CA on November 16, 2011:

My stepson had a rat for a pet. It was a great pet, but I still wouldn't want to find one in my toilet. I think I'd probably scream too. *Blessed* =)

hotbrain from Tacoma, WA on November 13, 2011:

Something I didn't really want to know about....... But I was so intrigued to hear about a rat in the toilet that I kept on reading anyway!

hotbrain from Tacoma, WA on November 13, 2011:

Something I didn't really want to know about....... But I was so intrigued to hear about a rat in the toilet that I kept on reading anyway!

mikeguerro221 on October 27, 2011:

fantastic! great lens.

tara-lynn lm on October 27, 2011:

Gross! I read this before I went to bed and it is creeping me out!

anonymous on September 23, 2011:

I've never had anything like this show up in my toilet. I never really believed this could happen, but now I see that it can! Very informative lens. Poor Willard....

orange3 lm on September 21, 2011:

OMG! That is so creepy!! I would hate to find any critter in the toilet.

gottaloveit2 on September 09, 2011:

I just found a 10' python by my garden (about a foot from my face) last week. It was the largest snake the humane society had ever seen. I'd welcome a rat in my toilet after that.

Cinnamonbite on July 08, 2011:

Yep. I've heard of rats, squirrels, and snakes in the toilet. I always look and because of my 4-defense anti-vermin team (4 cats), the lid is always down (nothing worse than a splash and then a wet cat on your pillow) so nothing is getting out.

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on July 05, 2011:

Wow, your story gave me shivers. I hope I don't find a rat in my toilet and I have to say that I'm sorry but I'm not likely to come looking here if I do find one, LOL. I'll probably shriek like a little girl (as you did) and run!

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on June 23, 2011:

Nothing creepy came up yet. Hope it stays like that:)

beckwong on June 17, 2011:

oops...I hope I will never have this kind of experience!

Lisa from Rhode Island on May 05, 2011:

I heard it was true from a friend wow it sure is creepy huh? great lens

anonymous on January 17, 2011:

No, no, no, no.... I thought this was urban legend about things coming out of your toilet! Okay, this so gave me the heebie geebies I am not sure I can ever sit on a toilet again, for fear something will crawl up and bite me in the butt!! Yuck.

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on January 13, 2011:

I don't know whether to laugh or sit here with my mouth open. (I did both. :-) ) What an ... an ... un-U-sual lens! lol. I sincerely hope you never find another Willard when you lift the lid.

pixelposy on January 12, 2011:

Oh my goodness. I don't think I'll be using the bathroom in the dark anymore!

Positivevibestechnician on January 12, 2011:

ummmm odd but oddly interesting i always look before i sit down more so now

BelindaBlevins on January 10, 2011:

Interested lens, I've never had a rat in my toilet before, but I did find a live snake under my kitchen sink once.

Brian Stephens from France on January 09, 2011:

I guess this must have been a real shock, but it has been reported that in the UK you are never any further than 3 yards from a rat wherever you are. Don't know if this is true or a myth but if it is even close to being true then I think a lot of people need to prepare themselves for a rat encounter. Very informative lens.

Achim Thiemermann from Austin, Texas on January 06, 2011:

What a useful lens this is! Because...a good belly-laugh is always useful, right?

anonymous on January 01, 2011:

If I found a rat in my toilet I'd be screeching worst than a little girl, right before I fainted on the toilet floor.

mywebcontent on January 01, 2011:

OMG, what a lens! I would have screamed like a little girl too if I found a rat in my toilet. What a lens! There are surprisingly high percentage of people on this lens that have found a rat in their toilet! This is certainly a unique lens!

BTW, thanks for commenting on my Wordpress lens! (http://www.squidoo.com/howtousewordpresstutorial)

Laura Schofield from Chicago, IL USA on December 31, 2010:

Wow - that is so coincidental that you're from the Pacific Northwest and all the latest google searches for 'rats in the toilet' are concerning Seattle. I've never seen this, but it is very interesting information!

darciefrench lm on December 31, 2010:

Very enjoyable accounting of finding a rat in your toilet -:)

Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on December 28, 2010:

I'm glad I have never found a rat in the toilet!

jackieb99 on December 25, 2010:

Wow...that's some scary stuff. I'm happy it's never happened to me!

Julianne Gentile from Cleveland, Ohio, US on December 24, 2010:

Oh dear! I love pet rats, but not sure how I'd react to this. I'm sure I'd be sad, but I'd probably scream. We have cats and ferrets in our house, but still find the odd mouse here and there. Obviously our animals are too well fed to bother with mice. We've been able to catch them and take them safely outside, but it still startles me.

Paul from Liverpool, England on December 23, 2010:

What to do if you have a live rat in your toliet? I'd be hoping a snake came up after it!

Bambi Watson on December 22, 2010:

Makes me really glad I have cats lol :)

~ Blessed >*

javr from British Columbia, Canada on December 22, 2010:

I had never believed these reports until now. WOW!

malloryjane on December 18, 2010:

Oh my goodness! I've never heard of this before - you've got me creeped right out now! *Frantically running to shut the toilet lid!*

I hope never to see this, but thanks for the information just in case!

Jeremy from Tokyo, Japan on December 15, 2010:

Yuck!

Although the snake would be worse.

Mona from Iowa on December 13, 2010:

Yup I totally thought this was false even though my husband insisted it was possible. I don't actually plan on telling him he was right either. A very interesting lens and yet heebie-jeebie like at the same time.

norma-holt on December 02, 2010:

Wow, scary or what? Thanks for the heads up and from now the lid's down - always.

BuckHawkcenter on November 10, 2010:

I have discovered mice in the toilet, but thankfully never a rat. Actually, it turned out the cat had dropped the mouse in the toilet and was not happy that she lost her prize! Great lens and well-deserving of so many blessings!

Jack on October 26, 2010:

We found a huge rat in the horse and donkey waterer once outside at our farm. I hope I never find one in the toilet!

Kathy McGraw from California on October 23, 2010:

I just had to click this because of the Title..EEK is right, I'm not sure what I would do initially if I saw a rat in my toilet. You gave some good info and I think putting something in the toilet to keep them out is a good idea. Blessed by an Angel :)

hayleylou lm on October 14, 2010:

This is a real eye-opener. Trouble is now I want to use the loo and daren't - thumbs up for unique subject :)

Vicki Green (author) from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on October 09, 2010:

@annrhi: I'm reallly not afraid of rats and creepy crawly things, but it freaked me out, too!

annrhi on October 09, 2010:

This lens soooo freaked me out, I have a real phobia about rats and creepy crawly things of any kind. It was like a really good horror film where you don't want to look but have to; I didn't want to read on but had to!

Sheilamarie from British Columbia on October 05, 2010:

This has creeped me out. I live where there are lots of little critters, but haven't thought too much about it when I get up in the middle of the night to make a BR visit. Starting tonight, I'm bringing along my flashlight!

Robert T Gasperson from South Carolina on September 30, 2010:

I have never heard of this happening. I am not going to show this to my wife. Hope you don't mind. :)

Dee Gallemore on September 29, 2010:

Rodents and creepy crawlies have always creeped me out . . . I'm a big scardy-cat. So if this ever happened to me, I'd probably want to move away [that's after I got out of the hospital from shock.] Thanks for busting the so-called myth!

Carol Fisher from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on September 18, 2010:

I hope I never find a rat in the toilet, even if it is dead. Blessed by an Angel.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 15, 2010:

Each time we open the cottage after a long winter, we often find mouse dead in the toilet. I still can't handle those. It is just gross and I feel very bad for them. I think that SRVB might be a good idea.

Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on September 10, 2010:

I"m glad I've been lucky so far. Does this also happen in septic systems?

Karen from U.S. on September 09, 2010:

My first response -- oh yuck, oh yuck! Especially the video with the snake in the toilet! I always thought that rats or snakes coming up into the toilet was an urban myth too, but obviously not! I don't think that's happened where I live though. As other people have responded, pet rats are okay. We used to have one, and she was quite sweet and affectionate.

tandemonimom lm on September 09, 2010:

We loved our pet rats! But I would be creeped out to find a wild one, alive or dead, in my toilet! I never have, but I did once find a soaking wet bat curled up in our bathtub. I don't know if he came up the tub drain, or got wet another way, but my dad managed to catch him in a colander and get him outside.

Kate Loving Shenk from Lancaster PA on September 09, 2010:

Rats are beautiful. Even when they invade your house. And they are destructive. But they thrive on disorder. And in the country. I am terrified of them though. Wish I had a big Cat! Even so, haven't seen one in several years.