Can Rats Come Up Through Your Toilet?

After a long day of work, you come home, walk into your bathroom, and open your toilet seat only to find a giant, hairy rat swimming or floating in the toilet.

While you could submit that in a short horror story contest (and potentially perform very well), it’s not just a shocking and unnerving thing to think about. Rats actually can come up through your toilet and invade your house. Advanced IPM has encountered these sorts of things before in California and Nevada. It’s a scary occurrence, but you can take steps to prevent it—and take a little solace in its rarity.

Yes, a Rat Can Wriggle Up Your Toilet

Rats can indeed make an uninvited appearance in your toilet bowl. Although it may seem impossible, it isn’t, at least for rats.

How Can Rats Come Up Through Toilets?

There are two main factors that allow rats to make their way up through your toilet.

The first factor is toilet design. If you look at your toilet from the side, you’ll probably notice the outline of the curvy pipe that goes from the toilet bowl down into the sewer system. (If you don’t see it, don’t worry—it’s still there even when the toilet has a blocky design.) The bend of the pipe, called a “trap” or an “S-bend,” is designed as a block between the smell of the sewer and the toilet. This bend results in an air pocket that rats can access in their journey.

The second factor is rat anatomy. Not only are rats excellent swimmers, but they also have a compressible ribcage that allows them to squeeze into tight spaces with ease. In addition, they can hold their breath for minutes at a time. This combination allows rats to swim up through the sewers and get inside the inner workings of your toilet.

Why Do Rats Come Up Through Toilets?

Rats are notorious for their never-ending pursuit of food, no matter how gross or inedible humans may think it is. In many sewer systems, the toilet and the garbage disposal end up in the same pipes. Rats then enter the sewer system in search of this discarded food. Also, if food is flushed down the toilet for any reason, rats could make their way to the toilet to see if they can find more.

How to Rat-Proof Your Toilet

Most people won’t have to worry about rats coming up your toilet because it’s usually a rare, somewhat freak occurrence. But if you are worried, or if it’s something that has happened to you or your family before, there are a couple steps you can take.

One simple preventative measure is to ensure your toilet lids stay closed. Though that won’t rat-proof your toilet exactly, it will prevent any rogue rats from making their way out of the toilet and into the rest of your home.

Alternatively, you can install a rat guard, also called a one-way toilet flap, in your toilet. This opens towards the sewer, allowing water and waste to go through it but preventing anything from coming the other way.

And, if you suspect that cracked pipes or improperly installed plumbing could be contributing, you might need to call a plumber to help you out on that front.

How to Rat-Proof Your Home

If you find a rat in your home, it’s best to make a call to the rodent professionals at Advanced IPM. Not only can rats carry diseases that you don’t want to encounter, but one rat can also be indicative of more rats nearby.

Not sure if your home or business is currently vulnerable to rats, mice, or other rodents? We offer no-charge seasonal rodent inspections in many locations throughout California, used to identify potential entry points and make recommendations based on our findings.

We’re experienced at removing rats efficiently and effectively, and we’ll do everything in our power to ensure your rat encounter doesn’t happen again. Rat problem? No problem with us. Contact us today!