Ever found a blocked loo and wondered how on earth people manage to clog their pipes so easily?
While a common culprit might be too much toilet paper, it turns out there are plenty of other bizarre things people flush down the John that don’t quite fit in the pipes.
We caught drift of this after a conversation with Larry Michaels, 55, a plumber at an airport in Texas.
He has worked in the trade for 35 years in homes and businesses throughout the state.
We asked him for ten of the most bizarre things he and his colleagues have found flushed down toilets at the airport and at people’s homes in the past…
1 A squirrel
Larry said: “Hands down, the strangest thing I ever found in a toilet was a dead squirrel.
“The poor thing had managed to climb down through a vent pipe in the roof and gotten stuck.
“It couldn’t climb back out or turn around. Sadly, the thing was stuck in the toilet water for some time and had gotten quite bloated and was very difficult — and gross — to remove.”
2 Bags of marijuana
Larry said: “Taking drugs through an airport is not a good idea! I guess someone realized that a bit too late and decided to toss their pot…in the pot!
“I got a call one evening that a toilet had stopped up. After I pulled the object from the pipe, I saw what it was and began to laugh.
“But before you start wondering, I did not dry it out for personal use!
“The airport has a ‘lost and found’ but I can assure you it was never claimed.”
3 $10,000+ bracelet
Larry said: “One afternoon, I received a call on my walkie-talkie to go to the ladies restroom at Gate 12.
“When I arrived, I saw an older woman crying and talking to one of the housekeeping staff.
“When I asked what was wrong, the woman told me that her charm bracelet, valued at more than $10,000, had fallen into the toilet when the clasp came loose.
“The auto flusher had gone off twice and the bracelet had disappeared.
“She cried and said her husband would be furious with her for losing such an expensive piece of jewelry.
“Being a plumbing superhero, I went to work, pulled the toilet from the floor and wall, and retrieved the bracelet from the pipe.
“Being a gentleman, I then rinsed the bracelet with soap and water, placed it in a plastic baggie, and returned it to the woman.
“The woman was so grateful but the airport’s policy forbids me from accepting tips.”
4 A set of false teeth
Larry said: “After receiving a maintenance call at the airport that one of the men’s toilets backed up, I grabbed my pipe wrench and went to the rescue.
“I suspected the usual culprit of too much toilet paper, or the occasional wallet.
“Digging deep into the pipes, what emerged was a surprise! A complete set of dentures were grinning back at me from the pipe.
“What do you do with a set of dentures you find in a toilet? Who would want them back?!
“I hung them up on the wall in the maintenance closet, below a set of sunglasses I’d found before and created a face.
“I nicknamed the face “John” in honour of where its various parts were found.”
5 Brand new iPhone 5S…in all the packaging
Larry said: “After the iPhone 5S came out, I got a plumbing back-up call to one of the ladies’ rooms.
“After running a plumbing snake down through the pipe, and pulling nothing out, I resorted to my trusty channel locks.
“Bizarrely when I reached into the pipe I pulled out a brand new iPhone 5S…brand new, still in the box!
“With the plastic wrap still intact, it was likely in workable condition. But airport employees have a strict code of conduct and I turned it in to ‘Lost & Found’.
“Sadly, I continue to use my trusty old flip phone today.”
6 Purple hard-boiled egg
Larry said: “One Monday, following Easter, travelers had departed for home from the holidays through the airport.
“As I made my rounds I found one of the restroom stalls stopped up and marked “out-of-order”.
“After trying the snake unsuccessfully, I tried my channel locks and felt them clamp down on something that cracked.
“When I pulled the object out, it was a purple hard-boiled Easter egg. Apparently a child had carried home a souvenir and dropped it during a potty break.
“But I like to think the Easter Bunny had a hand in the hidden location. The toilet is one place no one would ever think to look for a hidden egg.
“Well played Easter Bunny, well-played.”
7 Family photo in a bag of seashells
Larry said: “One summer I received a call for help from one of the junior plumbers. A toilet stopped up and they needed help pulling it from the wall.
“When I arrived, I assisted the plumber and when he reached his channel locks into the pipe, he pulled out a large bag of seashells.
“Inside the bag of shells was a picture of a family at the beach, all smiling in their bathing suits.
“After draining the bag, and drying the photo, I turned it in to ‘Lost and Found’ in hopes it would make it back to the family that it came from.”
8 Lions and tigers and bears
Larry said: “Several years back, there was a trend for these little gel encapsulated sponge animal toys that would grow when soaked in water over time.
“The toys began the size of a pill, but after the gel dissolved, the toys would grow much bigger.
“Once called on a residential visit, I pulled the toilet to find several large foam jungle animals clogging the pipes.
“When I pulled them out to show the property owner, the owner’s child, yelled: ‘Mine! It worked!’
“He had flushed the capsules down the ‘potty’ and they had grown so big they’d clogged the pipes.
“I suspected someone had a time-out coming after the bill came.”
9 Medical syringes
“One of the most dangerous items I pull from toilets are medical syringes.
“Fortunately, with the plumbing equipment I use, my hands never come in contact with the items in the toilet.
“Giving people the benefit of the doubt, I like to think it’s just an honest mistake made by passengers needing to give themselves insulin shots, for example.
“It’s probably awkward trying to care for medical needs while traveling.
“But I take no chances. I’m immunized against Hepatitis B and have HIV testing done as recommended by my physician. And, I always wear latex gloves when working.”
10 A red wig…which got used again
Larry said: “A co-plumber once worked at a nightclub which had a nightly drag queen act, and catered to a very eclectic crowd.
“The plumber had a call for a stopped up toilet in the men’s room. When he ran his plumbing snake down the pipe, a red fiber wrapped around the metal wire. As he pulled it out, he could see it was a long, fire-red ladies’ wig.
“The plumber suspected it belonged to one of the performers so he rinsed it in the sink and hung it over the stall to dry.
“A week later, he saw a performer wearing it— but he never told them where it was pulled from!”