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One evening last month, a Glover Park resident lifted the lid of her basement toilet to find a drenched rat the size of a 20 oz. Coke bottle scurrying around the bowl. She screamed, slammed the lid, stacked books on top, ran upstairs, and Googled the phrase “what to do about a rat in the toilet.”

The Internet advised lubing the toilet with dishwasher detergent and flushing, so the woman and her husband doused the rat with Dawn. “We did a flush, and we could still hear him scrambling around,” she says. “Now he was all puffed up and angry.”

An exterminator friend instructed the couple to smash the rat’s head with a broomstick. But the husband and wife, worried the rat would jump out of the toilet and bite them, declined the advice. They piled the books back on the lid.

The next day, they poured two cups of bleach into the toilet, and waited for the scrambling to stop. After a few minutes, they poked the rat with barbecue tongs. “He was completely stiff and totally dead,” she says.

The woman, who declined to be named, says she learned an important lesson from the incident. “You better believe I flush that toilet once in the morning and once at night,” she says. And the lid stays down.