Snakes in the Toilet

Are they something to be concerned about?
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Should you be concerned about snakes climbing through your plumbing?

We have all seen those videos on the internet of people finding snakes in their toilets. As if it is not petrifying enough coming into contact with them in the wild, they are now finding a way into your home.

Does it really happen?

The truth is, those videos are depicting real situations. Even though it does not happen very often, critters can make their way into your home by crawling through your plumbing. Rats are most often the creature that will end up in your toilet, but snakes can just as easily surprise you in the middle of the night.

How does it happen?

Most homes have multiple stack pipes that run into your home. They are connected to the sewer drain system. They have vents that allow sewer gases to escape. They are also connected to the drains in the house allowing the toilet, dishwasher and washing machine to drain. While these are in use, it is not a hospitable environment. However, they are dry much of the time. Even the water draining from a shower is not enough to wash them away. This allows snakes to use them as a conduit into your home. Luckily, most drains have a grate over it that prevents these creatures from getting into your home. Your shower grate doesn’t only prevent hair from clogging the drain. It also prevents rats and snakes from joining you.

The good news

You might be surprised to hear there is some good news. Most venomous snakes are too large to fit through your plumbing. This means the snakes that use this method are usually harmless. This is not always the case, but your chances of encountering a python in the shower are not very big.

How to keep them out

  • As previously mentioned, placing a grate over your drains can keep creatures from using it as an exit. 
  • You can install a multi-flap to the sewer pipe of your toilet. This allows the water to exit one way while preventing anything from entering from the other side. 
  • You can place a screen over the vent on your roof. You shouldn’t close the vents completely, but a screen will allow gases to escape while keeping snakes from entering. 
  • If you have an older system and still make use of a septic tank, you need to make sure that the lid is secured tightly. It is possible that it was not replaced properly when the tank was emptied. 
  • The best way to ensure that you do not use the toilet while there is a snake occupying it is to lift the seat and check underneath. It may be a laborious process, but it could save you from many sleepless nights.

Trapping the snake

If you have a snake on the loose in your home, you can purchase a snake trap. It comes pre-baited, and all you need to do is pour some oil on the snake to release it.

Can snakes get into your house through the toilet or plumbing?

In a word, yes, snakes can get into your house through the toilet or plumbing. What most homeowners aren’t aware of is that many of the pipes that lead in and out of your home aren’t filled with water all of the time. There are times when those pipes will be bare, thus providing the perfect solution for a passing snake to slither right in. Nine times out of ten, that snake will be looking for food, so there is a chance that you have a mouse or rat infestation in your property too. If you don’t already, it will only be a matter of time. If a snake manages to get inside your home, mice and rats definitely will be able to before long. They need the smallest holes to squeeze through and only the fraction of a hole that even a small snake would require.

The thought of a snake being in your bathroom at all should fill you with dread, but to be in your toilet, sink, or bath/shower is a frightening prospect. Fortunately, the chances of this happening are quite slim. There are plenty of other ways for a snake to get into your home without needing to resort to pipes, although they are there and it is wise for you to remember that when animal-proofing your home.

The process that a snake would need to go through to get into your home would be quite a long one, and although most snakes can swim, it’s unlikely that a snake would head for a smaller pipe, rather than an exit to freedom.