Rat Popping Out of Toilet Viewed 2.7 Million Times in Viral TikTok

Rat in Toilet Video TikTok New York
A video showing a rat emerging from a New York City toilet received millions of views on TikTok this week. This undated file photo shows a brown rat perched on a toilet seat. Liudmila Chernetska/Getty

A viral video of a rat emerging from a New York City toilet bowl had been viewed at least 2.7 million times as of Thursday.

In the 10-second video clip, which was posted to TikTok on Tuesday, a rat can be seen swimming in a toilet bowl as people nearby can be heard addressing it as "sir" and a "distinguished gentleman" while laughing. The video is captioned "Came right up the toilet" and includes hashtags that indicate it was recorded in New York.

The video was posted to TikTok by @whatisnewyorkofficial, an account that includes a variety of clips recorded around New York City. While none of the other videos featured rats popping out of toilet bowls, a video posted to the account last month appeared to show a large raccoon standing on a public toilet and drinking water from inside the bowl.

Increasingly common sightings of large rats invading homes in England amid COVID-19 lockdowns prompted pest control experts earlier this year to warn that the rodents can easily enter buildings through toilets.

"A rat can climb up a wastewater pipe, no problem," Andy Tyson of London-based Guardian Pest Management told The Guardian in February. "If no one's there using a toilet and flushing a cistern, rats can come out."

Andrew Dellbridge, director of Ace Pest Control, told Norwich Evening News that he had seen rats "the size of cats" over the past summer, although most infestations are seen during the summer. He described one incident that involved a customer calling him to report a rat inside a toilet bowl at home.

"The customer could barely speak, she was in so much shock," Dellbridge said. "She'd been using the bathroom and heard a noise. She looked down and it was in the toilet bowl. And this is happening more and more frequently."

Dellbridge confirmed the incident in a statement to Newsweek, calling it "quite common" and noting that he had also regularly witnessed "rats chewing through the outlet pipe from toilets and causing a flood of waste." Dellbridge recommended preventing infestations by blocking "every hole around the premises including putting down the toilet seat."

New York City residents noted changes in rat behavior during last year's pandemic lockdowns. Animals that had previously relied on scraps from restaurants had to look for other sources of food when the city shut down the establishments. In May 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of "unusual or aggressive" behavior from rats desperate for food in cities.

Although New York has a large population of rats, an urban myth that claims the rodents outnumber people is false. A 2014 study published in the magazine Significance found that the actual number of rats was around 2 million, or about 25 percent of the city's human population.