We recently heard from one of our readers about a specimen she discovered in her toilet. She didn’t provide any other information, but did send a photograph which clearly displays the organism. We can’t tell the size, but the creature has a light brown, oval-shaped body. It doesn’t have a distinct head, but it does have a thin, tail-like appendage:
We are confident that our reader has discovered a rat-tailed maggot! Rat-tailed maggots are the larvae of some species of hoverflies. The most commonly encountered rat-tailed maggots are larvae of the drone fly. These rat-tailed maggots live in stagnant water that has a high organic content and a low oxygen level. The tail-like appendage is actually a tube-like breathing siphon that allows these larvae to breathe while submerged underwater. Since rat-tailed maggots can tolerate pollution, their typical homes are rather icky. They are found in sewage lagoons, open latrines, wet carrion (which is the decaying flesh of dead animals), liquid cow manure, and toilets.
Rat-tailed maggots are generally harmless, but upon ingestion they can sometimes be linked to intestinal infections. As long as our reader isn’t planning on eating this larvae or drinking out of the toilet, she has nothing to worry about health-wise and can focus on saying goodbye to this larvae. Giving her toilet a proper cleaning should eliminate any potential food sources for this maggot. She will need to scrub out her toilet bowl and drain using a cleaning agent that is specifically designed to kill organic matter. If maggots continue to appear despite her scrubbing efforts, there is probably something clogging the toilet that will need to be removed using a plumbing snake. After cleaning her toilet properly, she can make sure her windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent future drone flies from flying into her home and laying eggs in her toilet. This should effectively stop the cycle of rat-tailed maggots in her home.
To conclude, one of our readers noticed a worm-like organism in her toilet. We are confident that she is dealing with a rat-tailed maggot! She can get rid of this larvae by cleaning her toilet thoroughly.