Rats have evolved to climb up sewage pipes and into people’s toilets – leaving home-owners terrified.
Pest control expert Paul Storey – known as The Pest Detective (TPD) – said he has been called by a number of hysterical customers in recent months.
He said one woman who had seen a rodent swimming around in her toilet used a roll of duct tape to keep the lid shut before calling him.
Others have weighed down the toilet lids, terrified that rats would emerge into their bathrooms.
In scenes that could come from a James Herbert horror novel, the brown rat – Rattus norvegicus in Latin – appears to be taking a greater interest in domestic water closets.
Paul, a former Royal Marine who is based in Poole, Dorset, and covers the county, said the problem was not restricted to one area.
He said: “I have had a number of calls recently across Dorset and some in Hampshire from those with rats in their toilets, and as you’d imagine they are terrified.
“When I joined this industry 13 years ago I didn’t know that trying to calm people down would be such an important part of the job.
“But when you look into your toilet and see a rat it’s really scary for the customer and they can get quite hysterical.
“In the jobs I have attended, when a rat comes up through the pipes into a toilet it doesn’t want to go back the way it came so has to be removed.
“They seem to have started climbing and swimming upwards through the pipes.
“I have been to four cases where rats have definitely emerged into the toilet and several others in which the owner has heard them in the pipes.
“Rats will get in to properties for a variety of reasons – from searching for food and shelter to general inquisitiveness.
“Home owners often feel ashamed or embarrassed but there is really no need to; it’s generally not a reflection on them, it’s a reflection on the abundance and tenacity of rats.
“Luckily there is a simple solution to the problem, by inserting a drain guard in the sewer pipe; they work like cat flaps and let the waste out while preventing anything coming back up.
“It is a simple and cost effective solution and will give people peace of mind… until I mention that I have known rats to enter bathrooms via gaps in pipes and scamper across the floor. This is very rare though.
“When investigating rats I will survey a property to find out how they are getting in, what is drawing them to the area and how to prevent future infestations.
“Then it is easier to stop them from coming back. Most rats are removed by traps and, if safe to do so, poisons, which they eat and then die later usually away from where they consumed it.
“I operate in all areas of pest control, but it is rats that really do frighten people the most.”
Paul can also be seen on Channel 5’s new series ‘Grime and Punishment’ in episode 4 on Thursday 4 July.
The Common, Brown, or Sewer Rat is the larger of the species in the UK and can weigh half a kilo and measure nearly 2ft including the tail.
Notes to editors:
Paul Storey served with the Royal Marines from 1986-2001 and then worked across the world in security. He moved into pest control in 2006 and set up his own business shortly afterwards. His business works under the brands The Pest Detective and TPD Environmental Services.
For more details contact Ed Baker, Senior Account Director at Deep South Media, on 01202 534487 or 07788392965