May 31, 2023 - News

Squat with caution: Tips for avoiding Florida's toilet invaders

Illustration of an iguana popping up out of a toilet bowl.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Florida is known for many things: beautiful beaches, shady politicians and exotic wildlife both in and out of the home.

Why it matters: It's something of a ritual for Miamians to check for porcelain predators before using the restroom — especially at night when it's dark and you're half-asleep.

  • One of the most invasive creatures we have is the iguana, which has made a habit of invading people's toilets and making the local news.
  • The latest sighting happened in Hollywood earlier this month, when homeowner John Riddle "thought I was in 'Jurassic Park' or something," after finding a lizard in his toilet bowl, per WSVN 7.

What they're saying: Ryan Goodman of Critter Control, tells Axios that iguanas aren't the only creatures known to get into people's plumbing: He's had to remove rats and snakes from toilets before.

  • "We're in South Florida. There's wildlife everywhere," he says.

How it works: Pests can crawl in through an opening in the plumbing stacks on your roof and then bypass the bathroom's P-trap, which can dry out when the toilet isn't being flushed enough.

  • Goodman recommends snowbirds leave their water service on after leaving town and that homeowners get a friend to house-sit and flush the toilets when they go on vacation.

Between the lines: Luckily for homeowners with septic tanks, pests typically only get into the plumbing of homes connected to the city sewer system, Goodman says.

Be smart: Make sure your home is sealed off, to limit where pests can enter.

Bottom line: Goodman says he feels confident in his home's defense against toilet invaders and doesn't worry, but his wife still checks.

  • "Chances are more slim when you're flushing your toilet a lot."
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