If you have lived on the Hill for any length of time, there is probably a good chance you have seen a street rat or two but another species of rats, sewer rats, are not a common concern, according to reports collected by Seattle and King County Public Health.
Capitol Hill has the fewest reported cases of sewer rats crawling into toilets as compared to other Seattle neighborhoods but the health department only documents cases of rats in toilets that are reported to them, so the numbers are not necessarily an accurate picture of which neighborhoods have the most sewer rats.
“One could assume there are sewer rats in every neighborhood,” said King County Department of Health spokesperson Hillary Karasz.
Still, the situation regarding reported Hill toilet rats seems to be better than the Capitol Hill bed bug information we shared last week.
“One thing that attracts rats is if people are using their garbage disposals,” Karasz said. “It’s kind of a mistake that they end up in the toilet.”
And rats do not just strike dirty homes. The Sun Break reported an increasingly number of rats entering Seattle homes in neighborhoods with varying economic backgrounds.
The Great Recession has been a boon to toilet-dwelling rats, it seems. The number of complaints–from people staring back at beady little eyes in their toilet–increased by about 32 percent from 2008 to 2009, from 57 rats-in-toilet (RIT) to 84!
Karasz and the KCDOH recommend any person who finds rats in a toilet close the lid and pour a little liquid detergent in the water to break surface tension, making it more difficult for the rat to stay afloat–and also call pest control. The KCDOH also has a rat baiting program for rats found in toilets.