It's been four harrowing years since we discussed the rats currently splashing around in your toilet bowl, and if for some reason you don't spend at least part of your day freaking out about this, here's a new video from National Geographic designed to scare you straight. Press play, and never leave the toilet lid up again.
What sounds like an urban legend is in fact all too common. When a Brooklyn woman told us about her toilet rat apartment horror story in 2011, we got ahold of exterminator Eddie Marco over at Brooklyn Pest Control. He explained why it's only a matter of time until a rat bites your genitals while you're on the can:
I've dealt with it many times. The pipe is empty, the rat crawls through the pipe and up over the hump and into the porcelain. And he can't 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!
But if it's managed to get out of the bowl, then you earn your money. If they leave the lid up, the rat can get out. Or, about a month ago, one of my employees got a call from a guy with a rat in his bathroom. This guy had the lid down, but he had one of those fabric covers over the toilet lid that wraps underneath the lid a little bit. So the rat was able to cling onto that and pry the lid open! My guy went in and beat it to death with a snow shovel.
Reached by phone today for old time's sake, Marco said, "I got a rat job I'm doing right now in a person's apartment. Came up through the sewer through the basement, through the wall and into the garbage. Right now I'm in the process of trying to catch this rat."
Marco says he currently handles about a dozen rat toilet jobs a year. "I had a couple in Bushwick recently," Marco said. "Mostly basement apartments. What happens is the pipe is dry, but as soon as they get up through that loop of the toilet bowl, they come up through the water. Then they try to get out, but they can't because they're sliding around on the porcelain. Then I come and flush them back down. Or hold them under the water and drown them."
Marco charges between $150 to $200 for this unenviable service. "There's a big epidemic now," Marco added. "The city health people aren't doing the right job. They gotta clean the subways. The city doesn't want to use outside vendors. They should."