What to do if a rat comes up your toilet

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Comic strip panel 1: A woman with black hair in a pony tail looks startled as she eyes a rat poking its head out of a toilet. Text: Try to stay calm. That might not be easy under the circumstances.
Comic strip panel 2: A woman with black hair in a pony tail is holding down the lid of a toilet seat and reaches to flush it. She grits her teeth and has her eyes tightly shut. Text: Rat still there? Shut the bathroom door and hurry to the kitchen!
Comic strip panel 3: A bottle of dish soap, with pink and yellow panels radiating outward to make it look like it's glowing. Text: Get a bottle of dish soap. This is your new best friend.
Comic strip panel 4: Close up of a hand holding down a toilet seat lid while a bottle of dish soap squirts between the lid and the seat. Text: Crack the lid and squirt the soap into the toilet. SQUIRT!
Comic strip panel 5: a rat floats in the water in a toilet bowl, its tail and back end pulled down towards the drain pipe. The water bubbles. Text: THe soap makes the rate slide down when you flush. IT may take many flushes.
Comic strip panel 6: a mouse trap set with cheese. Text: A large rat may not flush back down. If this happens, keep the lid closed and call a pest control company. If the rat escapes, close the door and seat a trap.
Comic strip panel 7: A rat in a sewer pipe is sniffing. Tendrils of aroma curl out of a connecting pipe. In a thought bubble, the rat imagines a burger. Text: Why RATS come up your toilet. #1 They smell food or grease. Keep your drains and garbage disposals clean.
Comic strip panel 8: A rat's head peers out of a rusted hole in a pipe. Text: #2 Old sewers and plumbing make it easier for them to get in
Comic strip panel 9: a rat swims through water towards a waste water pipe. Heavy rain falls. Text: #3 Flooding or high water in the sewer systems after heavy rain
Comic panel 10: a plumber with a blue cap holds up a flashlight to look up at pipes. Text: To report a problem with rats, call Public Health at 206-263-9566 or go to kingcounty.gov/rats. You may also want to call a plumber to inspect your side sewer and toilet connections.

For more information about how to get rid of rats and mice: kingcounty.gov/rats (note: our department only handles rat complaints in King County, WA).

Originally published on January 18, 2023.

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I am a risk communications specialist at Public Health - Seattle & King County.