New pandemic problem: Toilet rats

U.K. residents are finding a new challenge from the pandemic: rats coming up from the toilet. 

“On all the years I’ve been on this planet I’ve never had a rat personally come through my toilet, but I see it every day in the profession we’re in,” Mark Moseley, director of PestGone Environmental, tells the Mirror. “Every day we’ll have rats coming out of someone’s toilet.”

Rats are strong swimmers and can easily hold their breath until they get to the ‘U’ bend traps in toilets, which is air-filled. From there, even a closed toilet seat is no match for a rat’s strength, or even the strength of their jaws.

“The toilet seat was wooden, their teeth are as strong as steel so they can pretty much chew through anything,” says Peter Higgs, describing a recent call he answered from a client.

That said, lockdowns are causing yet another problem: proprietors, particularly in office buildings and the restaurant industry, are shutting their water off to save money. That, however, saves rats the swim. 

“We had 16 rats in one restaurant. The guy couldn’t believe what was happening to his restaurant, all because of dry lines. Someone opened the door and they just ran out.” Moseley said. 

Closer to home, restaurants in cities like New York and New Orleans, which were forced to build outdoor eating spaces during the pandemic just to keep their doors open during the height of the pandemic, have found those now-empty spaces also have new rat residents. 

Exterminator Paul Barletta of SWAT Pest Control in New Jersey tells Inside Edition that the spaces, often located near sewer grates and other access points, and which can be full of dropped food, are “a rat’s dream come true.”