Rats in the SewerRats love the sewer. People wash food down their sinks and flush excrement with partially digested nutrients down their toilets. Rats are happy to eat any and all of this food, and the sewers offer them shelter from predators. Under these conditions, it is little wonder that sewers have large rat populations. Rats living in the sewer beneath you are not likely to cause you any problems until they look for a new home. Several possible scenarios may cause a rat or family of rats to decide to relocate:
- Crowding — Rats find a lot of food in the sewer, but not unlimited food. When the rat population rises enough that there is no longer a sufficient food supply, the rodents will search for a new home.
- Sewer construction project — Loud noises, vibrations and other changes that occur with construction scare rats out of the sewers to look for a home where they feel safe.
- Flooding — Rats are good swimmers, but in times of flooding, the sewer may run too full for it to continue to be a comfortable home.
Decreasing the Threat of RatsThe good news is that there are simple steps you can take to decrease your risk of rats moving in through your drains:
- Close the toilet lid — When a rat comes up through a toilet drain, it jumps from the bowl to the rim of the toilet. If the toilet lid is closed when the rat gets into the bowl, it is trapped and will most likely turn around to swim back down the sewer drain to find another outlet.
- Cover drains — Install screens or grates that fit tightly over drains keep rats out. Periodically inspect the covers to make sure that they are in good condition; if they loosen or rust over time, they will need to be replaced.
- Repair broken lines — Very small breaks in sewer lines are more common than you may think. Tree roots and age may lead to leaks on your property. While broken lines will not cause rats to enter through your drains, they do increase the rat population on your property. In addition, rats that exit broken lines may tunnel along the line and enter your house at the hole for the pipe.