Monday, September 14th, 2015
Watch this National Geographic video which details how easily rats can enter your home by using the pipes to your toilet as an entry point.
National Geographic has released a video showing the ease with which a rat can climb up through a domestic plumbing system and emerge in your toilet bowl.
Rats are attracted to sewer systems as they can provide food for rodents. Surprisingly, large quantities of food are flushed down residential toilets and rats also choose to feast upon undigested food that is found in human faeces, which is a process known as coprophagy. Regular drain cleaning can help reduce the problem – if the drains are clean, rats will move on to better areas.
In bad storms and flooding, sewers can overflow and damage the nests of rats, causing them to seek refuge and food elsewhere.
As residential sewage pipes are connected to the main sewer systems, rats are tempted to swim up them and into the domestic pipes beneath properties. From here, they’re able to squeeze through the extremely narrow and bendy system and eventually appear in the toilet bowl.
The brown rat, also known as the Norway rat, possesses several key attributes that make it possible to complete this challenging journey. Firstly, they come with a set of sharp claws that are able to scale vertical surfaces even when they’re made from smooth substances such as porcelain.
Rats are also champion swimmers and are able to tread water for 3 days as well as holding their breath for up to 3 minutes. This gives them the opportunity to navigate a considerable stretch of piping before requiring breath from a pocket of air. Finally, rats are able to squeeze through the narrowest of pipes thanks to their collapsible hinge-like spines. If their heads can fit through a space, then their flexible bodies can easily follow.
It’s important not to panic if you see a rat in your loo. If you have dishwasher liquid to hand, then squirt some around the rim of the toilet bowl and flush the facility many times to push the rat back down towards the sewers.
It would also be wise to call your water company to see if they can conduct a search of your pipes to see if there are any more. Rats tend to develop preferred routes as they travel, so it’s a good idea to contact pest control to ensure that your toilet hasn’t become part of a well-followed path into your house. CCTV surveys may also help to identify if rats are present. Rats spread disease so it’s important to nip the problem in the bud with some professional assistance.
Whilst the content of the video from National Geographic is bound to cause alarm in those who view it, it’s important to remember that having rats in your toilet bowl is not a widespread problem. It’s more likely to occur in older cities where the population of rats is higher than in rural areas.
There are far more common ways for a rat to enter your home, so if you’re worried about the prospect of sharing your home with rodents, keep the holes and openings in your home monitored and repaired. Be sure to check for weak points in your walls, basement and roof which make more probable entry points for a rat than your loo!