Roland Park and Cross Keys have put themselves on the map over the years. With a rich past that dates back more than 100 years and strong links to famous urban planners the Olmsted Brothers, Roland Park and Cross Keys are no strangers to being part of American history. In fact, Roland Park Shopping Center is in the Guiness Book of World Records as being the world’s first shopping center, opening in 1907, and Cross Keys was home to none other than Ms. Oprah Winfrey in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Roland Park and Cross Keys were both built as planned “street car” suburbs of Baltimore at the end of the 20th century and are among the first planned communities in the United States. The beautiful homes, proximity to transit and retail have made the area a major draw for decades.
But a historic community usually comes with a historic sewage system and for Brody Brothers, that means we get calls to remove rats from toilet bowls in Roland Park and Cross Keys. Talk about an unpleasant surprise!
It may sound like an urban legend, but rats really do crawl up through sewer pipes and into toilets.
What’s worse, they often survive being flushed down the toilet because rats are excellent swimmers. They can even tread water for up to three days and can hold their breath for three entire minutes.
And if you think your pipes are too narrow to fit a rat, think again: they can collapse their bodies to fit a narrow passage.
A pair of brown rats can produce up to 2,000 offspring in a year, so try not to think about how many rats are in a typical sewage system. To avoid the nightmarish scenario of finding a disease-ridden furry creature in your porcelain throne, there are smart steps that every homeowner should take:
- Make sure the cleanup pipe in your yard is properly capped.
- Flush or fill old basement toilet bowls every two weeks, even if they haven’t been used.
- If you have removed an old basement toilet, make sure to properly install a cap to seal off the pipe.
- Installing a one-way valve on your main sewer pipe may be a long-term solution if you have dealt with this issue repeatedly.
- As an added bonus, these tips also help if you experience an abundance of flies in your basement.
It’s also worth noting that rats are vectors for many diseases, including hantavirus and salmonella poisoning, so the Brody Brothers have a specific protocol when we are called out for a rat removal.
For our clients in Roland Park and Cross Keys who have dealt with rats repeatedly, we strongly recommend our quarterly Home Protection Plan. This plan allows us to pinpoint all entry points for rats, not just sewage pipes, and avoid an infestation.
If you suspect that you have a more serious rat problem than just one swimming into a toilet, do not try to deal with it yourself—you could end up with dead, smelly rats rotting in your walls.