PORTLAND – It was 2 a.m. Friday and Daniel Powers woke up to the sound of scratching. He figured it was just his cat lurking around in the bathroom. Instead, he found a rat in his toilet.
“I lifted the lid and this furry little guy with beady eyes looked at me. I slammed the lid down and immediately Googled what do you do with a rat in your toilet,” he said.
While his story might sound far-fetched, officials at Multnomah County Vector Control said they respond to around 20 to 30 calls about rats in toilets every year.
Randy Witten, who owns Nature First Pest Control and has been in the business for 24 years, has scores of stories about rats in customers’ toilets.
He said rain causes older sewer systems to flood, sending the rats into side lines and eventually into homes.
Witten often gets calls from perplexed customers who have rats running loose inside their homes. When he asks them about water on the floor in the bathroom, most people then discover the rat got in through the toilet.
“A lot of times a bigger rat will chase smaller rats—rats eat each other—and the smaller rat will swim up the trap into the home,” Witten said. “Sometimes the homeowner opens the lid and there’s a rat doing the back stroke.”
That’s apparently exactly what happened at Powers’ home.
“I didn’t really want to touch it, so I just left it and by morning it was gone,” he said. “I put about 20 books on the lid. There was no way he was going to get out.”
Witten said Powers’ likely did the best thing.
“My advice is it’s rare and keep the toilet lid down,” he said. “Or as they used to say ‘look before you leap.’ In this case, ‘look before you sit.’”