5 Animals That Might Show Up In Your Toilet to Terrify You

iStock/RichardCardenas
iStock/RichardCardenas

A man in Coral Springs, Florida, got more than he bargained for over Memorial Day weekend when he lifted the lid on his toilet and had a 4-foot ball python pop out—and bite him on the arm. Fortunately, the snake (which was captured and taken to the Coral Springs Humane Society) is nonvenomous and the man was treated at the scene. But he's not the only one to encounter an unwanted critter in the commode. If the stories below teach us anything, it's to look before you sit.

1. Snakes

In 2015, San Diego's Department of Animal Services removed a 5.5-foot-long Columbia rainbow boa from a toilet in an office building. Stephanie Lacsa, the unfortunate person who found the snake, noticed a higher than normal level of water in the bowl and, when she began to plunge it, the snake popped out. “I thought my eyes were deceiving me,” Lasca said. “This is every person’s worst nightmare.” 

Officials believe the snake Lasca found didn't come in through the toilet, but was instead left there by someone. Still, snakes seem to pop up in toilets fairly often: An Isreali man was bitten on the penis by a snake in his toilet; a Staten Island man was brushing his teeth when he saw a California kingsnake in his toilet bowl; a Mumbai family discovered a 6-foot cobra in their toilet, mere moments after someone had used it; a Pennsylvania woman found a black snake in her commode; and so on. 

2. Rats

iStock/Dixi_

It’s no urban legend: Rats can totally crawl up into your toilet bowl (here’s how they do it). Just ask the couple in South London who were afraid to go to the bathroom after a rat kept poking its head up into their toilet bowl for 8 months in 2013, or the Brooklyn residents who were watching TV when a rat entered their apartment through the toilet, or the many people who have posted videos of rats in their toilets on YouTube.

“It happens all the time, especially if you live in the basement or a first floor apartment,” Eddie Marco, owner of Brooklyn Pest Control, told Gothamist. “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.” Vector control in Portland, Oregon reportedly receives 10 to 15 calls a year from residents who have found rats, alive and dead, in their toilets. Marco’s advice: If you find a rat in your toilet bowl, flush it down—and if it gets into your apartment, call the experts to deal with it.

3. Frogs

iStock/ygluzberg

It’s less scary than finding a snake or rat, but it’s probably still pretty disconcerting to see a frog hanging out in your toilet bowl. It happens to lots of people: Googling “frog in toilet” yields more than 27.3 million results. One Florida resident found enough frogs in his toilet that he wrote in to the Tampa Bay Times for advice: “How does a frog (of a pretty good size) get in the toilet? We had one a number of years ago and then again just Sunday.” The newspaper recommended putting a mesh screen over the toilet vent and keeping lights off at night (keeping them on would attract bugs and, therefore, potentially frogs).

4. Squirrels

iStock/johnlric

Rats aren’t the only rodents to pop up in toilet bowls. In 2008, a writer for Tallahassee magazine recounted what happened when her cats tipped her off to a squirrel in the toilet, and in 2010, a woman in Edmond, Oklahoma, discovered a squirrel splashing around in the bowl. It took two officers several minutes to “apprehend” the creature—which jumped out of the toilet and ran around the bathroom—and release it in a local park. And in 2013, Winnipeg resident Angela Campbell heard loud sounds coming from her toilet. “I was envisioning ... monsters,” she told the Winnipeg Free Press. Instead, she found a very smelly squirrel, “caked with whatever was inside the pipes, from wherever it was coming from.” Campbell didn’t freak out, though; instead, she removed the sad, weak little squirrel, cleaned it up in her bathtub, and set it free.

5. Possums

iStock/timharman

It appears that, in addition to playing dead, some possums enjoy taking a swim. In 2008, Brisbane, Australia resident Tim Fraser was doing the laundry in his bathroom when the water in the toilet began to gurgle—and out popped a baby possum. "It was like the toilet had given birth," Fraser told the Sydney Morning Herald. In 2011, Austin, Texas photographer Shaylan Nelson’s husband found what he thought was a baby rat, but was actually an adorable baby possum, in their toilet; they rescued the little guy and set him free. And in 2013, West Virginia writer Karin Fuller recounted the tale of finding a dead possum in her toilet—which, depending on your point of view, might be worse than a live possum.

And now, for no reason at all, here's a video of baby possums eating watermelon:

Updated for 2019.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Treat Your Feline This Holiday Season With Fancy Feast’s Cat Food Advent Calendar

Fancy Feast/Chewy
Fancy Feast/Chewy

In anticipation of the holiday season, many children and adults get to unwrap mini presents each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas day, during what's known as Advent. Though Advent itself dates back to the 4th century, the version we know today, complete with the chocolate-filled calendars, was popularized in the early 1900s. And apparently it's no longer just for humans, because Fancy Feast is letting your feline roommate in on the fun with this unique cat food Advent calendar, now available at Chewy for $23.

For the 24 days leading up to Christmas, your cat will get to enjoy a variety of different wet foods, including favorites like grilled salmon, chicken, and more. There is even a unique ornament included with each calendar featuring a cat in the shape of a heart that can go right onto your tree. (Also, don't be surprised to find your actual cat making its way into the middle of your tree; they're known climbers.)

Now while you enjoy your Advent calendars from brands like LEGO, Funko, and more, your cat will be able to join in on the fun as well. To learn more about Fancy Feast's Feastivites Advent Calendar, head on over to Chewy.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.