As unpleasant as it may seem, it's possible to have rats enter your home through your plumbing. Though it might sound like the stuff of movies (or nightmares), rats can find gaps in plumbing systems and enter your pipes. There's even the possibility they could enter through your toilet. Fortunately, with proper maintenance of your plumbing and around your home, the chances of this occurring are very slim.
You can block rats in toilets by ensuring proper outdoor maintenance, including use of hardware cloth on entry pipes. Inside, use toilet guards or rat traps to keep nuisance wildlife at bay.
Important Note on Rats
Rats carry many diseases. If you do have rats in your plumbing, toilet or elsewhere in your home, call a professional exterminator or animal control expert right away. Don't ever attempt to remove a live rat from your plumbing on your own.
If you know you did at one time have rats in your home, you should clean it thoroughly. If a rat entered your bathroom, disinfect all floors, the toilet and any other surface the rat might have come into contact with. Not sure if you had rats in the house? Rats tend to have a very strong ammonia smell, explains CountryLiving.
Outdoor Maintenance Is Essential
Good outdoor maintenance habits are essential to keeping rats and other nuisance animals away from and out of your home. You can use a leak detector to find gaps or cracks in your septic or sewer system and then work to seal it off to prevent the entry of rats. Do-It-Yourself Pest Control explains that any gaps or cracks bigger than half an inch should be sealed to prevent the entry of rats.
Keep grass cut and foliage to a minimum around your home, as tall grasses and weeds can be prime hiding places for rats and other animals. If you have drainage pipes, like from a sump pump, check them regularly to prevent animals from entering. If possible, use narrower tubing at the end of these pipes to prevent animals from entering wide PVC pipes.
Be sure your septic tank cover is buried. If it's an above-ground lid, keep dirt tightly packed around it. If you notice that an animal is digging around the lid, fill the dirt back in regularly. You can also cover sewer vents or septic covers with hardware cloth to prevent animals from entering.
Interior Updates Prevent Rats
You can install a toilet guard, or rat flap, inside your bathroom to prevent rats from entering through your plumbing. This device only moves in one direction, so if rats enter the pipes, they won't be able to move beyond the flap. Ideally, the flap should be situated such that draining water pushes it outward so any animal in the line would be pushed back outside and away from the bathroom.
If you do suspect that you have rats in your toilet or elsewhere in your home, install traps to keep them at bay (these can be humane traps so as not to kill the rats). You may need as many as 20 traps, or even more, depending on the size of your house and how severe the infestation is.
Once again, however, you should contact pest control for assistance with this problem if it doesn't immediately begin to improve. There may be a point of entry you're not aware of, but an expert might be able to pinpoint it much more quickly.
Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com).