Rats Swim Up Toilets All The Time. I Met One.
WARNING: This might scare the #$% out of you.
It was mid-afternoon at my neighborhood bar when I stepped downstairs to use the facilities.
Please note the time of my day, as I think it's important to remind you that I was very much of sound mind when these events unfolded.
You can actually see the men's toilet as soon as you get downstairs - through an open door at the end of a long, dark hallway.
The seat was up. Just the way I like it.
And on the edge of the toilet sat a rat. Just the way I - what the?!
As I crept closer, eyes wide, mouth hanging wider, the critter edged up on his hind legs. He gave me one parting stare -before diving into the basin.
The water actually splashed outside of the toilet. I stood staring into the basin for a moment. But only a bubble rose softly to the surface.
To this day, I can't go near a toilet without hearing the theme from Jaws.
As it turns out, rats pull off this sort of thing regularly.
As explained in this video by National Geographic, it's actually pretty easy for the sewer-savvy critters to shock the bejesus out of you - thanks to a hinged spine and remarkable swimming skills.
A wily rat's odyssey begins by slipping into a grate from street-level. Then, down the critter scurries to the murky depths of the sewers below. From there, the main sewage tunnel bristles with pipes leading to residential systems perfect for curious rats.
And these claws were made for scaling - along even the slipperiest of surfaces.
There's a point, at the first bend in the toilet, where the animal can catch a breath, which is just enough, apparently, to make the rest of the journey to the surface.
And then ... HELLO.
Here's the full video on this most stunning of journeys.
You can learn all about these brilliant, ultra-resourceful animals here.