Rat-Tailed Maggot Swimming in Toilet Bowl

We recently got sent a video from a reader accompanied by the question, “What kind of worm is this? I found 3 in my toilet today and yesterday.” She said she has done some research, but has come up empty and hopes we can be of assistance to her.

The video shows a light brown “worm” with distinctive tail swimming through the water in a toilet bowl. We believe this specimen is a rat-tailed maggot. These maggots are the larvae of a species of hoverflies. Their “tail” is their most distinctive and recognizable feature; it is actually a breathing tube they use to breathe while submerged in water. Rat-tailed maggots live in stagnant, oxygen-deprived water full of organic content, making a toilet bowl a reasonable home!


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These maggots are harmless, but can still be considered a nuisance. Our reader can use a toilet bowl cleaner designed to kill decaying organic matter to eliminate the food source for these creatures. If she only discovers them in single digits, she can also simply remove them and take them outside.

In summary, our reader discovered an interesting organism swimming in her toilet bowl. We are confident that these creatures are rat-tailed maggots.

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Summary
Rat-Tailed Maggot Swimming in Toilet Bowl
Article Name
Rat-Tailed Maggot Swimming in Toilet Bowl
Description
We recently got sent a video from a reader accompanied by the question, “What kind of worm is this? I found 3 in my toilet today and yesterday.” She said she has done some research, but has come up empty and hopes we can be of assistance to her.
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1 Comment

  1. Cariole Barrett

    We have had these rat tailed maggots in our toilet and also a couple of dead, mature hover flies. I would like to know where and how the hover fly was able to lay its eggs. I imagine they must have been laid in the stink pipe as this is the only external access to the toilet system.

    Thank you.

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