If the idea of a snake or rat coming up through your toilet terrifies you, you’re not alone
Few things may instill fear like the idea of a snake coming through your toilet can. Is it an urban legend, a joke, or a valid concern? According to experts, unfortunately, it can happen. Not only can snakes come up through the toilet, but other critters like rats, squirrels, and tree frogs can too. However, this is not a very common occurrence, so you can breathe a sigh of relief.
How Do Snakes Get in Your Toilet?
Most homes have several stack pipes running up from the sewer through the roof to vent gas. These ventilation pipes are attached to your home’s drain system and empty water from the shower, toilet, and dishwasher. The pipes are usually dry, so animals on the roof like squirrels or rats from the sewer can climb up or down the pipe and end up in your bathroom. The gooseneck pipes in the ventilation are S-shaped, so an animal may get disoriented or turned around and end up in the bathroom by mistake.
Snakes may climb up a tree and onto your roof and end up in these pipes. They can swim and hold their breath (as can rats, but that’s a story for a different day). Snakes can fit into very tight spaces and objects. Other points of entry include windows, doors, crawl spaces, attics, cellars, and basements. If you have a septic tank, ensure the lid is secure. Pests can also enter your home through cracked pipes in your plumbing.
How Do I Prevent This From Happening to Me?
Luckily, there are some preventative measures you can take to keep snakes and other small animals out of your toilet.
Cover your ventilation pipe with wire mesh or hardware cloth to create a barrier that pests cannot move through. Use a one-quarter to one-half inch thick wire mesh for durability.
You will need shears to cut through wire mesh. Cut it one to three inches wide to cover the stack pipe opening and leave some extra material on each side. Since this project requires going up on the roof to reach the stack pipe, it involves the risk of falling and injuring yourself—which is the last thing you need if you’ve woken up to a snake in your toilet. You can hire a local handyperson or animal removal expert in your area to cover the stack pipes.
Roof Vent Hood
Installing a roof vent hood is another option. Again, because it involves your roof, leave this one to the pros.
A multi-flap is a one-way, non-return valve that fits over the toilet waste pipe. It allows the toilet to flush and release water and waste, and then the flap immediately shuts to keep animals out by cutting off their access. This works well for both rats and snakes. An additional benefit of a multi-flap is that it lessens your water consumption, which can save you money on your water bill.
Why Do Snakes Want to Be In My Toilet?
Since they are cold-blooded, snakes find cool toilet bowls attractive, especially during hot weather. Or they may be seeking to escape the plumbing and find a spot in your home where they can warm up on a cold night. Snakes may also be looking for food.
What Do You Do if You Find a Snake in Your Toilet?
First of all, do not panic. Immediately close the toilet seat cover. If you’re renting, your landlord may be able to take care of the situation.
If you own your home, contact your local animal control agency. They can humanely capture and relocate the animal. You can also contact an emergency pest control company near you to remove the unwanted roommate from your home.