Bilston: Rats running around on pavement in front of shoppers
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Rats have traditionally favoured downtown offices, where their population boomed in 2020 amid work from home arrangements. As the supplies that allowed them to flourish run low, they will have to move on elsewhere – to the homes where people have set up new offices. People have started reporting persistent rats entering their houses via the drainage, popping out from the toilet.
How do rats climb up the toilet?
Most people rarely catch a glimpse of rats during their daily lives, as they prefer keeping to the shadows.
The vermin will snack on discarded food scraps and spend most of their time in the rubbish.
But they are equally at home in the water, as notably strong swimmers with an ability to tread water for days.
They can also hold their breath for longer than a human being, up to three minutes.
The average human, by comparison, can only hold theirs for 30 to 90 seconds.
Toilets include a U-bend pipe design, which serves as a barrier between the fixture and the sewers.
The bend has an air pocket, which rats can utilise when they swim up from the sewer.
They can compress their anatomy to fit through these tight spaces, ultimately giving them one-way access from sewer to house.
Rats usually comb sewers in search of food and are happy to eat almost anything.
Speaking to Norwich Evening News, rat-catcher Andrew Dellbridge revealed rat excursions like this are happening more often.
He told the publication they are becoming “bigger and braver” and recounted a recent callout when he had to extract a rat that had entered a woman’s home via her toilet.
He said his customer could “barely speak” from fright and discovered the rodent while using the bathroom.
Scratches from the toilet bowl alerted her, and she called the exterminator.
Some of the rats he has since encountered have grown “as big as cats”, and man’s feline friends are averse to fighting them off.
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How to stop rats coming up through your toilet
Norwich-based Mr Dellbridge has only seen the rats emerge where he is, but that doesn’t mean everywhere else is safe.
Those worried about the growing rodent problem can take some active steps to prevent invaders.
The first and most straightforward action is to keep the toilet lid closed and flush before use.
Rats can still climb up to the bowl, but they will have trouble getting out through a shut lid, and a flush current will carry them away.
The next step is to try and reduce waste and rubbish around the outside of the home.
Installing a wire mesh around bins and keeping them closed should stop rodents from picking them clean.
Anyone who discovers a rat in their toilet should seek a professional for help.
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