Six feet under — your bum!

Six feet under — your bum!

There’s something down there! What? More than you bargained for, that’s what. This week we drop down into the sewers to see what we can find. Quite a lot, as it turns out.

Across the world, sewer networks offer convenient stopping-off places for off-piste wildlife to ‘hang’ with their pals while waiting to be rescued. Sewers also represent a treasure trove of lost and never-found possessions. So when you are on the throne, contemplate the fact that your bum hovers a mere six feet above the entrance to a magical kingdom resembling Aladdin’s Cave, but with the occasional wild animal.

Let’s look at the veritable menagerie of varmints, critters, lang-leggedty beasties, and things that go bump in the night that have been discovered in the world’s sewers at one time or another. I will start with the most credible and edge towards the unbelievable to cushion the blow.

To be told that rats, for instance — remember the saying, ‘you are never more than six feet from a rat?’ — live in the sewers should be no more surprising than learning that candy floss is made of sugar. But what about ducks and foxes?; these have been discovered in sewers too, at one time or another. 

Rat in sewer

That’s all well and good, but would you bet against cows and sheep being found in sewers? If you would, you’d lose because bovine and ovine infiltrators have also been discovered in sewers.

Then there’s the particular case of alligators. Stories about alligators roaming the sewers of Miami and other warm places have been around for a long time, but these tall tales are mostly part of a long-standing urban myth. I suppose that it is mathematically possible that an alligator, living in a sewer near you and desperate for food, might eventually cram an inquisitive snout around your U-bend before sinking its reptilian gnashers into your butt. However, it would be best not to have nightmares about it. On the other hand, you can’t be too careful — it’s a jungle down there.

And while we’re on the subject of gnashers, it might surprise you that false teeth are often found in sewer systems. Other objects of note include an army of toy soldiers, a £20K watch, and an entire cannabis farm! There’s gold and jewellery down there too, but my favourite object amongst all objects found blocking a sewer is an American Civil War cannonball! I would love to read the insurance claim documents for that case.

‘Hello? Prudential? I’d like to claim for damage caused by a blocked sewer. I’m in Chelmsford. What’s that? Reason for blockage? Hmm, just put American Civil War ammunition; that should cover it.’

The likelihood of you ending up in Accident and Emergency because a U-bend marauder from the darker corners of the animal kingdom decided to gate-crash your lavatory remains remote. However, someone online is bound to sell chain-mail long Johns if you ‘re the kind that likes to cover all the angles. 

Similarly, you’ve as much chance of discovering a 1930s Rolex while applying the Toilet Duck as you have of spotting Jacob Rees-Mogg dancing the Charleston in the mosh pit at a Whitesnake concert.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog. If it has left you nervous about going to the smallest room, consider dropping a WWII depth charge into the lavatory pan before you sit down. This generally discourages wildlife, but make sure your porcelain fittings bear the British Standard kitemark to ensure your plumbing can withstand such an onslaught.