Eek! There’s a Snake in My Toilet!

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.

Herp Perp

In 2009, Reuters picked up a story from the China Times, reporting that a man in rural Taiwan was bitten by a snake in a surprise toilet attack. Then, in 2010, a man in the Bronx found a 3-foot corn snake curled up on his toilet seat. Both snakes appeared to have entered through the drain lines. Granted, if you were one of these men, you probably would never again use the bathroom without the lights on. But there are approximately 6.9 billion people in the world, and only two cases like this have made the news in recent years. Therefore, unless your roommate is the president of the local chapter of the Herpetological Society, you don’t have to worry about snakes in your toilet.

What Happens After “Eek” (or Other Expletives)

In the very, very, very unlikely event that a rat shows up in your commode, close the lid and flush. This should force the rat back out from whence he came. If you’re feeling plucky, you can also squirt some dish soap into the bowl, keeping the lid closed as much as possible. The soap breaks down oils on the rat’s fur, making it difficult to float. Then, flush.

In the even more unlikely event that your unwelcome guest is a snake, close the lid and weight it down with something heavy. Then call the local police department. And possibly your fortune teller…that’s gotta be some kind of sign.

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clara H.
Clara Hamill4 years ago

best tip keep the toliet seat down at all times. When you have to go open slowly and cheak. I would want to find what species it is before getting rid of it.

Magdalena K.
Past Member 4 years ago


Carole R.
Carole R.4 years ago

"Eek" is not the word! I think I would have a heart attack.

Michele Wilkinson


Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Scary! Thanks.

Dana A.4 years ago

Lived in Florida for awhile..snakes and frogs coming at ya from the bowl is a common occurence...we moved ...QUICKLY!

Charles Edwards
Charles Edwards4 years ago

I have a healthy respect for all types of life and to my wife's chagrin, have actually caught mice/rats that somehow made it into the house and released them. Unfortunately, a snake that cannot be IDd in less than 30 seconds as nonpoisonous or if definitely poisonous, or takes me by surprise is considered to be outside the realm other life is in. Snakes for whatever reason, strike a me or them attitude in the fear receptors of my brain and I go into the kill mode automatically.

jane richmond
jane richmond4 years ago


Howard C.
.4 years ago

We don't get many snakes in the UK but we do get rats and not just in our cities. Rats are encouraged by the huge amount of food that we throw away every day, all too often just dumping it in the streets. I have a real problem with killing other creatures just because they don't suit us but there is an alternative, stop wasting food! This doesn't just mean not buying more food at home than you need but also not throwing a half eaten burger in the road when you have had enough of it.

Vivian Nair
Vivian Nair4 years ago

eew scary!!