Have you ever sat down on the toilet and had the cringe-worthy thought that something might suddenly come up through the toilet drain and bite you in your vulnerable areas? Maybe you shake your head at such a silly idea. It's only a wild imagining fueled by too many horror flicks and gruesome urban legends, right?
No animal can possibly survive in the tortured, flooded bends of a toilet drain. Could it? The horrifying fact is that it's not a far-fetched notion after all.
Here's what you must know about creatures and toilets:
How they do it
Animals aren't after the toilet or you, really, but they do end up in the bowl by accessing your sewer lines or toilet vent. This is a big risk if you are on a shared sewer system with storm drains.
Animals can run, slither or hop along the outside of drain pipes and gain access to the sewage system through uncapped drains, damaged pipes or vent holes. Once in, they gain access to your toilet by traveling up the inside of drainage pipes and following their noses to the toilet drain, where they swim and wriggle up into the bowl.
Frogs are attracted to flies that may be buzzing around uncapped vents and drains and then hop into your sewage system for a bite to eat. They follow the same final route to your toilet.
Possums, squirrels, snakes and frogs can swim, and rats can do so for up to three days straight. Any of these creatures can end up in your toilet bowl. This is not a pleasant thought for an adult, but it could be a traumatizing experience for a small child.
How to prevent toilet pests
Head off the invasion of your most private spot by capping all non-venting access holes to your plumbing and sewage drainage systems. Place sturdy, breathable netting over vent holes. Your plumber has products specifically designed to prevent vermin from accessing your pipes, which may include non-return or check valves. These drain inserts with one-way flaps also prevent backed up sewage from entering your home.
Make certain you never leave unsecured trash around the areas near your pipes or close to storm drains, as the scent of decaying food attracts animals like rodents who attract animals like snakes. If these creatures in the food chain are feeding close to your sewage lines, they may decide to continue the circle of life inside of those pipes and end up in your toilet basin.
Use clay or PVC sewer pipes as rats can't get a good grip to climb them. Make sure the pipes are at least 24" wide, because rats and other animals prefer small, tight passages when they move around a sewage system, They will be hesitant to climb on top of or inside these extra-wide pipes.
Have a qualified plumber inspect your pipes once a year or so to correct any at-risk areas. A professional can find and fix the source of toilet pest invasions if you have trouble accessing or repairing the sewage lines yourself. Companies like Bishop Plumbing, Heating and Cooling may be able to help.