What to Do If You Find a Rat in Your Toilet

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Photo: Jed Egan

The bathroom is the most vulnerable room in your house. There are brightly lit mirrors that reveal your hidden flaws. It is also where you expose your most private parts to the porcelain end of a sewage system. So it is understandably more disconcerting to find a rodent there than, say, in your living room. According to Gothamist, Prospect Heights resident Kat Selvocki experienced a version of this particular nightmare a few nights ago. Selvocki called her neighbor and his dogs over after she found an eight-inch rat in her third-floor apartment. But when they looked, it was nowhere to be found. "The only place it could have come from is the toilet bowl, where splashes of water were found around the toilet seat. They also found telltale gray/black hair inside the toilet." We're a little skeptical (and nauseated) that that's the only conclusion. Small rats, for example, can fit through a hole the size of a quarter. But exterminators say it's not uncommon. So what do you do if you find one doing laps in your commode? Well, if you ask us: Scream. Run. Never use the bathroom again for life. Die a tiny death inside. Devote your life to building a line of rat-protection space suits. But the experts have other ideas.

Gothamist has compiled a handy list of more appropriate responses that, if you make the mistake of watching this video, you will likely be unable to put into action. They suggest staying calm, keeping the lid down, and trying not to barf while you squirt dish soap into the toilet to degrease "the oils on the rat’s fur so it can not stay afloat," before flushing multiple times. They were also thoughtful enough to provide irrefutable evidence against fabric covers: Says Eddie Marco, an exterminator from Brooklyn Pest Control:


About a month ago, one of my employees got a call from a guy with a rat in his bathroom. This guy had the lid down, but he had one of those fabric covers over the toilet lid that wraps underneath the lid a little bit. So the rat was able to cling onto that and pry the lid open! My guy went in and beat it to death with a snow shovel.

Those space suits don't seem so crazy now, do they?

Rat Emerges from Toilet to Terrify Prospect Heights Women [Gothamist]