|Posted by Dan on March 03, 2003 at 09:38:08:|
I'm a DIY and I just finished putting in a new bathroom floor in my house. While preparing to reinstall the toilet, I pulled the wadded up rag out of the toilet waste pipe and noticed that it was all neatly chewed up on the underside. Something had eaten away at the rag from inside the pipe (and thankfully given up before it chewed all the way through). There were large scraps of the rag left in the elbow of the pipe a foot below the floor level. I wasn't about to go sticking my hand down into the waste pipe, so I used a wire coathanger to fish all those scraps of rag out of the elbow. As I was fishing around in the pipe, I saw a little rodent nose come into view, sniff around, and back away back down the pipe. It had to be a rat. Must have been attracted to the sudden light.
I went ahead and intalled the toilet. It works just fine. I flushed it like crazy to encourage the rat to go back to wherever it came from. I also poured a couple of kettles of boiling water down the adjacent bathroom sink drain. The boiling water flowed past the exact spot I saw the rat. I'm trying to give the rat a few subtle hints.
My only question is: Is there a problem with having a rat in the waste pipe in my house? I would prefer that it wasn't there, but other than banging on the pipes and pouring boiling water down the drains, is there anything I can do (without harming myself or my family) to get rid of this rat. My 3 year old daughter has a hard time remembering to close the lid on the toilet after she uses it, and the idea of a slimey rat climbing out of a toilet and into my house kind of grosses me out. The idea of lifting the lid and seeing a rat sitting in the bowl also gives me the heebs.
Here are some facts about my situation. I live in the suburbs of Washington D.C. I'm on Arlington County's sewer system. There is a residential construction site across the street from me. (Maybe the rat got into the system from an open pipe there.) I have cast iron pipes. Amazingly, the rat had to climb at least 6-7 feet up the inside of a vertical stack of cast iron pipe to get to the horizontal pipe I saw it in. How does it do that? What do rats live on while they are in the pipes? If we stop using our kitchen garbage disposal, will that deny it a food source? I always thought the stories of rats in pipes were the stuff of urban legends or were at least rare. Just how common is it to have rats in your pipes? Are PVC pipes better for keeping rats out, because they are slick inside? Can a rat really climb up out of my toilet? After all, it would appear that the only barrier is a couple inches of water. We have 1.6 gpf toilets, so maybe the narrower traps will keep the rat(s) out.
I made the possible mistake of telling my wife about the rat I saw. She's not too happy about it.
If you have any advice and/or comments, please let me know.
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