Toilet rodent leaves residents feeling flushed with fear

HERMOSA BEACH, California -- Allen Carrier's early morning pit stop at his California beach home turned into quite the nightmare.

He picked up the lid to his toilet and found a rat swimming around in there.

Carrier and his partner Dr. William Wickwire had to figure out quickly how to get rid of it.

One flush didn't work.

"The second time when we opened the lid he had flipped onto his back and looked like he was on vacation in Hawaii," Wickwire said.

Finally they added extra water to the bowl with a bucket and were able to flush the rodent away. They haven't seen it since.

Exactly how the rat got there isn't clear.

Pest control experts say rats are excellent swimmers. Certain species can hold their breath for three minutes and can fit through drain pipes.

The Hermosa Beach city manager says there haven't been reports of similar problems.

The city suggests homeowners "install a check valve on their lateral sewer lines and ensure abandoned sewer lateral lines from the property are properly capped. These valves are required and should already be in for all newer construction if built according to building codes."

Local plumbers say while it's rare for rats to come up through the toilet, it's always best to keep the lid down just in case.

As for Carrier and Wickwire, the experience has left them rattled.

"We look, we flush and if it's still safe we take a look and we go ahead," Carrier said.
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