By Phil Schmidt, Networx
If you awoke in the middle of the night to go the bathroom and were met by a large snake peering at you from the toilet, the first word out of your mouth would likely be much stronger than “Eek,” although it might have a similar ending. But panicked diction aside, are drainpipe entrances by snakes and other creepy crawlies the stuff of urban legend and feared mostly by people who also warn of robot takeovers? Unfortunately, the answer is no. And it can happen to YOU (cue: hideous madman laughter).
Ok. Enough with the drama. Let’s look at the facts. According to reputable news reports of recent decades, there are only two animals that have the ability and motivation to enter a home through its sewer piping: rats and snakes. Comforting, right? And that’s the good news. The bad news is that, theoretically, if a rat or snake can find its way into the toilet, it can also crash your party via the kitchen sink or even the bathtub. This is because all of the house’s drain lines end up in the same place: the main house (or building) drain leading to the city’s sewer line under the street. However, most kitchen sinks have a disposer or strainer device that bars access or at least deters entry, and bathtub drains usually have stopper devices that do the same.
Mutant Rats from Hell
Well, not really from Hell. More like Norway, which reportedly is very nice. The type of rat most likely to come for a pool party in your toilet is a Norway rat, commonly called a sewer rat. You can use whichever name seems to fit: Do you picture the animals scuttling through dark, slimy tunnels or sluicing down slopes on cross-country skis? In any case, these are common rats that thrive in urban areas and are occasionally cute-ified in animated movies.
Typically, rats get into a home’s main drain through breaks in the underground sewer line. Utility workers can test for this type of entry by pouring dye down a nearby rat burrow in the ground. If the dye shows up in the sewer downstream of the burrow, they know there’s a connection. And why do rats want to get into a home? For food, of course. Rats have a very good sense of smell and are attracted by food (in its various forms) flowing down your drain.