General Question

flo's avatar

Have the snakes/pets into another person's apartment via the toilet always been because of lids left up?

Asked by flo (12985points) March 8th, 2011

Or has there been pets that have pushed the lid up?

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10 Answers

janbb's avatar

A friend built a house in a low-lying rural area and apparently a snake was in the toilet once. My worst nightmare EVAH!

YARNLADY's avatar

No, there is a space between the lid and the rim of the toilet, and they squeeze through it.

Jeruba's avatar

a rat got into our toilet because of a break in the sewer line.

this happened twice in 1 month. one came up drowned but the other was still struggling.

major shudders.

woodcutter's avatar

Some crafty animals will work their way up the drain from outside so I don’t think the position of the lid matters.

seazen's avatar

It’s time for a little UB40

reinvestor's avatar

It’s likely that reports of wildlife crawling up through the sewer system are highly exaggerated. Many small critters manage to enter a house through an unprotected vent, crawlspace, or other void in the structure. Once inside they seek water because they’re thirsty, and the only standing pool of water in most houses is the toilet. When the resident discovers the critter in/near the toilet they assume it came in through the plumbing.

If you understand the basics of a residential sewer system, it’s easier to see that it’s possible, but quite unlikely. Most waste stacks (the main drain of the house that takes the waste out of the house to the sewer or septic tank/field) have at least some amount of vertical run because they are gravity powered. For example, a bathroom on the first floor may have an eight foot run to the basement where it exits the building. Contrary to popular belief, this sewer line is empty most times, except when a faucet is being used or toilet is being flushed, etc. so it’s not a matter of a rat or snake “swimming” up the pipe. In reality, a rat would have to somehow enter the sewer system outside the house, climb the interior of a slippery and sludgy 4” pipe going straight up for a story or more, make it’s way through a tight P-trap, and end up in the toilet bowl. Not to mention, if someone flushed the toilet it would send the rat outside along with the contents of the flush.

Jeruba's avatar


“exaggerated”? i see. perhaps you’d consider the following additional points in making your judgment:

1. we never, ever leave the toilet lid up—long-standing household custom going back to my own childhood.

2. there was a very aggressive and competent cat on the premises.

3. our typical california house is basically not raised up above street level more than a foot or so. lateral is in front lawn just a few inches lower than the toilet drain where the rats were found and probably not more than 25 or 30 feet out from that point horizontally.

4. we phoned the city. the sewer line was repaired. end of problem.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

@Jeruba, I don’t think he was saying it doesn’t happen. But I agree, I think stories like this are frequently exaggerated, or urban legends. However, in the house where I grew up my father woke up in the middle of the night to a strange splashing sound, entered the bathroom, lifted the toilet lid, and discovered a rat flailing in the toilet bowl. On the second story. How did it get there? From the drain system he erected on our flat roof when he designed our house.

Jeruba's avatar

i think he wanted to say that the statement i made was mistaken or erroneous. the evidence he supplied would support that position. instead he condescendingly labeled it “exaggerated.” what does that mean? that a reduced claim is more probable. what reduced claim? might he be willing to accept, perhaps, that only one rat came up that way but not two? or that it wasn’t really a break in the sewer line but maybe just a little weak spot? nonsense. arguing that i’ve fallen prey to a common misconception and citing an alternative explanation is one thing. calling it “exaggerated” is quite another. ridiculous.

flo's avatar

Thank you all. I just hear it too too often. I like the habit of just closing the lid regardless of these incidents of huge pet skakes etc. There is dropping valuable items in there and the eeew job of taking it out.
I found out the hard way that rats/mice are good at squeezing through just about the smallest spaces but I didn’t think of the space between the lid and the rim. Just the he thought makes me shiver.

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