A live rat came up through the toilet of a woman who lives on the 400 block of Haddon in Oakland. She shared her story on one of the listservs that neighbors use to communicate such news as, well, live rats coming up in the toilet, and also crime reports.
Here’s what she wrote, and I withheld her name for concerns of privacy:
Yesterday I lifted my toilet lid to see a black creature scurry extremely fast down the toilet drain. I saw a tail and a hind leg before it disappeared. I heard the water splash. It totally creeped me out. Everyone says it could only have been a rat.
I am now pouring Clorox in the toilet bowl several times a day and keeping a weight on the toilet lid because it’s a thin plastic lid. I knock on the lid before lifting it. I read that you should remove any cloth cover as a rat can get out of the toilet using the space created between the lid and the seat by the cloth cover.
I’ve seen rats on occasion in the streets around here.
Another neighbor issued this report:
I had that same experience in my previous house, only the rat jumped out of the toilet and made a nest it the chimney. It was a nightmare gettng rid of it. Turned out the sewer pipe broke during the Loma Prieta quake and I didn’t know because the pipe is buried. The whole neighborhood had to replace our sewer pipes. Don’t know if this is relevant in this case, but worth looking into.
So, having never seen this myself, I wondered just how does a rat come to crawl into a toilet?
According to a posting by Thomas Pet Services, rats in toilets are rare and only happen when, and I quote, “the rat population in the sewers in very large…and if the sewer system and lines are in bad shape”
The Thomas Pet Services web page goes on to explain that:
In many cities, rats use the older sewer systems as highways. They can follow the scent of food washed down drains and enter the stand pipe to a home. Unable to reach a kitchen, they can end up in the toilet instead. Rats can also get into toilets by entering the system through a roof vent.
Can rats drown? Norway rats are semi-aquatic by nature. They can swim as far as half a mile in open water and can dive and swim under water for 30 seconds at a time.
Needless to say, closing the lid and flushing does not usually get rid of the toilet rat. Neither does pouring rat poison into the bowl. As with any sewer rat situation, the long term solution usually requires more than you can do alone. Communities, local government and local utilities have to get involved when rats have taken over the sewers.
So, Oakland has a rat problem. The woman who reported the incident said “I’ve seen rats on occasion in the streets around here”
One thing to avoid is pouring food down a toilet. But it’s also a good idea to call a local pest control company. I found a list of seven such firms here in Oakland:
Omega Termite & Pest Control
807 75th Ave
Webb’s Pest Control
1 Google review
643 17th St
Western Exterminator Company
901 76th Ave
4820 MacArthur Blvd
Capable Pest Control
1407 Webster St
Magnum Structural Pest Control
1714 Franklin St
Clark Pest Control
2313 Research Dr
Happy rat hunting!