The toilet rat is one of New York's most triggering urban legends, in part because the toilet rat is not a legend, it is all too real. Stories of rodents crawling into apartments through sewer pipes will always haunt any New Yorker who uses a toilet, and though you can pretend it will never happen to you, YouTube says it's only a matter of time. And one Brooklyn man's toilet rat number almost came up this week when a plumber pulled a dead rat out of his drain pipe.

The victim, who wishes to remain anonymous lest the rest of the rat's rat family come back for revenge, says he noticed the sewer main in his Carroll Gardens brownstone building had started leaking into the basement this week. The first thing he noticed, naturally, was the odor. "It smelled like a combination of mud and death," he said. "I opened the door [to the basement] and there was two inches of puddled water that stunk to high heaven." So he called a plumber, expecting the leak had been caused by the usual sewage backup.


"An hour and a half later he calls out and says, 'Look, I found the cause of the water leak!" the victim told us. "I go down there and he's standing there with his helper, and displayed the end of his plumbing snake, and there's a half-rotted dead rat at the end of that device."

Indeed, it was a rat, and not merely a rodent-like ball of feces. "I looked at it carefully, and I was like, 'Yes, it's definitely a rat,'" the victim said. He added that the plumber gave him some good real estate tips while still presiding over the body of the dead animal. "He gave us advice about how we should buy this building," he said. "I was standing there, the three of us, with this rat dangling from the pipe, getting real estate advice from the plumber."

The plumber, Harif Ajb Noci, hypothesizes that the unfortunate creature had been in the drain pipe for about ten days. "I think that one fell from the roof," he told us. "Maybe he jumped in the vent and slid all the way down." Though Ajb Noci has found kitchen grease and birds nests in sewers before, this was his first time coming across a literal sewer rat. "It's a freak accident," he said.

Others, however, say the toilet rat phenomenon is not as uncommon as toilet users would like to believe.

"I've dealt with it many times," exterminator Eddie Marco at Brooklyn Pest Control previously told us. "The pipe is empty, the rat crawls through the pipe and up over the hump and into the porcelain. And he cant get back out. What I do? I flush it down! It happens all the time, especially if you live in the basement or a first floor apartment. As soon as they go up over that hump they're in the bowl. So they call me, I go in and just flush the toilet. 100 bucks!"

However, Macro added, "If it's managed to get out of the bowl, then you earn your money."

Though this week's victim says he's still "trying to get over trauma of seeing the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in my life," he feels for the rat whose life was cut short by the cruel clutches of the sewer pipe. "I'm sort of fond of rats. You see them in New York all the time, you look down at every single subway and wait for movement and they're always there," he said. "They're so scrawny and scary and ugly because they're starving. We should have a veterinarian come and take care of them."

Save the rats, save the sewers, save the world.