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14 Shocking Discoveries Plumbers Have Found in Pipes

If you think pulling a hairy ball of gunk out of your shower drain is gross, wait till you see what these plumbers found! Don't worry, they're not all disgusting—in fact, some stories are quite heartwarming.

Courtesy Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup

A purr-fect ending

Auto shop employees often listen for sounds to diagnose problems, but a kitten meowing in distress isn’t something they usually hear. This group of guys heard meows for days before discovering they were coming from an open underground pipe outside the shop. After different agencies tried to rescue the kitten to no avail, the employees were in the process of trying to dig up the pipe when they saw Roto-Rooter driver Kevin Adkins drive by. They flagged him down, and Adkins was able to gently suck the kitten out of the pipe using the lowest setting on the vacuum truck. The kitten was adopted by one of the mechanics at the auto shop.

Courtesy Mr. Rooter Plumbing

Toothy toilet

A customer called Mr. Rooter with a toilet stoppage. When the technician looked into the pipes to find the source, he pulled out upper and lower dentures from the toilet. The customer wondered where his dentures went. Apparently, he had a little too much to drink the night before and unknowingly made a deposit in the porcelain wishing well. Oops! Here are the other toilet mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

Courtesy Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc.

Mass destruction

Can you imagine what the plumber was thinking when he started pulling on this mass from an underground storm drainage pipe? “Will it ever end?” “What the heck is it?” And this is mass is on the small side. Reliance Plumbing Sewer and Drainage, Inc. has pulled out thicker and longer masses!

Courtesy Mr. Rooter Plumbing

Diamond in the rough

The Mr. Rooter crew was in the midst of a two-day project for a customer when they noticed a shiny object fall to the ground from a sewer line. The shiny item turned out to be a custom-made diamond ring that the customer’s daughter had lost over ten years ago when she placed it on the counter, near the sink.

Courtesy Mr. Rooter Plumbing

Expanding dinosaurs

Flushing a toilet and making things disappear must seem like magic to some kids. Maybe that’s what happened to this dinosaur that was pulled from a toilet. Unfortunately, this was a type of toy that expands when exposed to water so it got stuck once it was flushed. Thankfully Mr. Rooter was able to retrieve the dinosaur. Find out the plumbing nightmares that will make you cringe.

Courtesy Mallick Plumbing & Heating

A poopsicle

A period of freezing weather always keeps plumbers busy with bursting frozen pipes, but Mallick Plumbing and Heating in the Washington D.C. area got a call about a main sewer backup. Upon arrival, the plumbers found that the sewer line had frozen solid and the section of pipe with feces in it would need to be cut out and replaced. When the technician removed the pipe, he found this “poopsicle.”

Courtesy Mr. Rooter Plumbing

The root of the matter

For the most part, water flows through our main water lines day in and day out without issue, but sometimes a sprawling root system can wreak havoc on pipes. It took four guys from Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. in the Chicago area to hold this 30-foot monster root that they removed from the main water line.

Courtesy antaplumbing.com

Sewer mice

In the plumbing business, plumbers call these “sewer mice.” Tampons should never be flushed down the toilet yet Anta Plumbing sees this type of trouble a lot. Cotton doesn’t decompose, so a tampon can clog up the system anywhere causing expensive damage to septic systems and they’re no picnic to remove at wastewater-treatment facilities. Here are 10 more things to never flush down the toilet.

Courtesy Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup

The iguana that lost its way

This iguana was found after Alisa Scott, a Roto-Rooter plumber, was called to a house to fix a toilet that wouldn’t flush. The iguana apparently entered the rooftop vent and made its way into the depths of the toilet. When Scott snagged something she never imagined it would be a live iguana!

Courtesy Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup

Decapitated Barbie

A little girl flushed her Barbie doll’s head down a toilet but didn’t tell her parents. All they knew was that the toilet wasn’t flushing properly. A Roto-Rooter drain technician pulled Barbie’s head out with a toilet auger. If your toilet is stopped up, try some of these plumber-approved tips to get things flowing again.

Courtesy Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup

Silicone in urinal

Who knows why someone would flush silicone caulk down a urinal? Maybe they thought it would be diluted with the water… except that it wasn’t. A Roto-Rooter drain technician found the silicone caulk in the shape of the urinal’s p-trap. It doesn’t matter if it’s a drain in a urinal or a kitchen sink, never pour these items down the drain.

Courtesy Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup

A flushometer is no match for smartphones

Roto-Rooter gets a lot of calls from panicked customers that dropped their cell phones in commercial toilets like office buildings and restaurants. Unlike toilets at home, the powerful commercial-grade flushometer systems can easily flush a smartphone down into the toilet’s drain trap. Learn the home repairs anyone can do.

Courtesy Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup

Fish funeral

A Roto-Rooter plumber attempted to clear a residential toilet clog with a hand-crank toilet auger, but the clog wouldn’t budge. So, he pulled up the toilet to access the trap from the bottom of the toilet and saw the fish head. Apparently, the homeowner had a pet fish that died, so he attempted to flush the fish away and it got stuck in the toilet’s drain trap. Find out the things all smart homeowners should do once a month.

Courtesy Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup

His flying days are over

Roof vent pipes are a common place for curious birds, squirrels, and other small animals to become trapped inside home drain systems. Unfortunately, for the animal and homeowner, they usually can’t turn around and find their way back out. This is another common call for Roto-Rooter. A screen over these vents is a worthy home maintenance chore. Here are a few more you should tackle this weekend.

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, HealthiNation, The Family Handyman, Taste of Home, and Realtor.com., among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center. Follow her on Instagram @lisamariewrites4food and Twitter @cornish_conklin.