Animals In Your Plumbing
What’s the last thing you expect to see peeking up at you from your drain? An alligator? A snake? An opossum? A rat? It must be said, you may find animals in your plumbing or coming out of your plumbing.
While it is unlikely you will ever see an alligator climbing up your pipes, there are a number of creatures you might see.
What Kind Of Animals
What type of creatures are commonly found in drain pipes? Rats often live in sewers, and can even crawl into your toilet! In Washington State, in one year there were over 60 of these incidents. The local health department concluded they followed the scent of food which was flushed down drains, got lost in sewer pipes, and swam up into toilets instead. They have hinged ribs which enable them to fit into very tight spaces. Agile swimmers, they can tread water for up to three days! Their teeth are so sharp they can not only gnaw through pipes, but concrete as well, damaging sewer systems.
What about bigger animals
A wide variety of animals have been found stuck in outdoor drain pipes. These include cows, an alligator, cats, a fox, raccoons and ferrets.
One farmer in China discovered his missing cow had fallen down a drain. Luckily several helpers and a pulley system were able to pull him out!
Raccoons use drains in their search for food, and may get stuck. Homeless dogs have been rescued when they were found looking for food and shelter in the wrong place.
What about bigger animals
Although it is unlikely to happen in Canada, a sewer alligator was found in Florida. Since a 1935 New York Times headline announced:
ALLIGATOR FOUND IN UPTOWN SEWER
This urban legend has only grown. Now on every February 9, New Yorkers celebrate “Alligators found in the Sewers” day!
What was the strangest animal found?
One of the oddest thing found in sewers is a tubifex worm. These look like throbbing blobs. It sounds like a bad B-Movie entitled “The Blog”, but these really were found under a shopping mall in North Carolina.
How do they get there?
One common access point is a broken underground pipe. As rats and snakes often live below street level, this provides an easy way for them to first get into sewer pipes and then follow them into your house.
A second point of access is your roof vent! You may not realize this, but the vent on your roof connects to your sewer pipes.
What can you do?
How can you prevent unwanted critters from crawling into your pipes? Try putting wire mesh over the top of your roof vent. Don’t use cloth or a screen, as this can block the vent.
To safeguard your toilet, install a one way valve underneath. This may be especially helpful if you have a one way sewer system.
What should you do with unwanted critters? If you can safely catch them, snakes, lizards and frogs can be released outside. For other unwanted animals such as opossums and rats, call your local animal or pest control. These creatures may carry diseases, and are best left to professionals.
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