Imagine that you get up in the morning, go to the bathroom, and lift the toilet lid. To your horror, you find a large sewer rat sitting in the water! Though you may feel like an actor in a horror film – realistic scream and all – it is fully plausible to find a rat swimming around in your toilet bowl. 

If you find yourself in this grotesque scenario, do not panic. Instead, remove the rat and prevent more rats from coming up by installing new sewer pipes, placing a one-way rat baffle, or removing possible food sources from the sewer entrance. These three techniques will keep rats from coming up your toilet again. 

To find out more about removing rats from your toilet and preventing them from coming back, read on. 

How Rats Come Up The Toilet 

Though most people imagine rats as scurrying around on the floor, sewer rats are surprisingly good swimmers. They paddle using their legs and steer using their long tails. Some species can tread water for up to three days, hold their breath for three minutes, and swim over a mile. 

Motive: Food 

Whenever rats get hungry, they go in search for food, and the pipes and drains are a great way to access different dining locations. As they are looking for food, they may make their way into sewer pipes via cracks and vents. 

When they are in the sewer system, they may eat fecal matter for food and often find remnants of food from the garbage disposal. More so, sewer systems have pockets of empty areas that give the rat access to air and rest. Together, the fecal matter, garbage disposal food, and air pockets propel the rat to continue hunting for food until they finally come up in your toilet bowl.   

What To Do When A Rat Is In Your Toilet 

Whenever you find a rat in your toilet, there is no need to panic. Instead, you should calmly remove the rat, and then take preventative measures to keep them out. Here’s what to do when you find a rat in your toilet: 

Step 1: Remove the rat 

The first thing to do when you find a rat in your toilet is to remove the rat. Though this may seem gut-wrenching to those who are squeamish around rats, you will need to remove it. It is as simple as that.

There are three popular ways of getting the rat out of your toilet bowl: putting bleach in the bowl, flushing the toilet, or calling a plumber. 

Follow these steps to get rid of the rat:

  • Bleach: Pour bleach into your toilet bowl and then close the lid. The rat will die of asphyxiation within 15 minutes. Use tongs to remove dead rat from the toilet. 
  • Flush Toilet: If you do not want to kill the rat, you can simply flush your toilet. This will probably not send the rat back into the sewer system, but it may give the rat time to escape the toilet and find food elsewhere. Overall, flushing the toilet is not the most effective means for removing rats, but you can try it for a quick and painless removal attempt. 
  • Call a Plumber: If you do not want to deal with the rat it all yourself, call a plumber. The plumber will use a snare to remove the rat. The snare is a wire loop that is placed around the rat’s neck so that it can be lifted from the toilet while alive. It is not recommended to make your own snare because you may anger the rat and put yourself at risk if it goes wrong. 

When you’re removing the rat, do not use any excessive means to kill it. You do not want to injure yourself or unnecessarily torture the animal. Do not attempt to kill sewer rats by electrocution, flamethrowers, poisons, or guns. These techniques are both dangerous to you and tortuous to the rat. 

Step 2: Prevent rats from returning in the future 

Once the rat is removed from the toilet bowl, you now know that you have some issues within your toilet system. So, you should address the issue so that you don’t find rats in your toilet in the future.

The most popular preventative techniques include installing different sewer pipes, placing a one-way rat baffle, and removing possible food sources from around sewer entrance. 

Here’s how to prevent rats from returning:

  • Install Different Sewer Pipes: To keep rats from getting into cracks or crevices at the sewer pipes, install newer PVC or clay sewer pipes that are at least 24 inches wide. This material and width will prevent rats from getting into the pipes and crawling up into your toilet. 
  • Place a One-Way Rat Baffle: If you do not have the means or funds to install different sewer pipes, install a one-way rat baffle. You want to install this baffle on the ends of the open drainpipes and gutters. Install them so that the flap is pushed outward by the force of the draining water. This will allow water and waste to exit the pipe but prevent rats or other items from going into the pipe. 
  • Remove Possible Food Sources From Sewer Entrance: Many people placed their garbage cans near the sewer entrance. This attracts rats to the area, which may cause them to go into the sewer. Either move the garbage can or make sure it is secured properly so that rats don’t detect the food. 

Of these three options, we recommend placing a one-way rat baffle. The reason for this is that it is the most cost-effective option that also actively keeps rats out. If you do not like this option, you can also install different sewer pipes or remove possible food sources from sewer entrance.  

Frequently Asked Questions  

Are all sewer systems infested with rats? 

No, sewer rats are not commonly in sewer systems. Sewer rats mainly only infest older sewer systems that are built with bricks. The bricks give the rats more access to the system and other pipes. The bricks also allow cockroaches to move easily and freely, which attracts more sewer rats because they love eating cockroaches. 

Will I find a rat in my toilet?

The chances of finding a rat in your toilet are very low. In fact, most animal control experts say that finding a rat in your toilet is extremely rare. Often, this situation is only found in large cities with big sewer systems that encourage rat spread. If you live in a small town or have modern sewer systems, you are less likely to find a rat in your toilet. 

Do rats like some sewer pipes more than others?

Yes. In many homes, the toilet and garbage disposal end up in the same pipes. When rats are looking for food, they may stumble upon food from the garbage disposal and end up going up your toilet in search of the source of the food. 

Does finding a rat in my toilet mean I have a dirty house? 

No. Finding a rat in your toilet does not mean you have a dirty house. In fact, the rat probably came from far away. It does not reflect on your hygiene or home cleanliness in any way.