The most unlikely things have been found down the water
pipes. Here are 11 utterly bizarre, but totally true instances of strange
things found underground in the worldwide waste water systems...
1. A donkey
A donkey failed to see the funny side when he found his hind
half stuck down a manhole. An unsuspecting passer-by saw the trapped donkey at
about 8am one Saturday morning in 2014. This was in Switzerland. Maybe Swiss
donkeys are adept at prising up super heavy manhole covers and trying to
reverse themselves down to investigate? Or maybe it was taking an innocent
amble along the sewers before trying the wrong exit? It should have known
better - they’re not called donkeyholes are they?
2 . A car
Ok, so it was a Mini. Yes, alright - it was half a Mini. But
maybe that’s even more unlikely? Thames Water discovered the discarded half of
the car in a London sewer in 2014. We like to think it was the result of some
hilariously hair-brained Arthur Daley style cut and shut scam. Not that we find
criminal activity funny or anything. Or, maybe it was the result of a dry run
of the most unlikely James Bond car chase stunt ever - the one in A View To A
Kill where the unflappable Roger Moore drives half a Renault through Paris.
Somewhere out there on the London streets is the other half of that Mini… if
only it could tell us the whole story.
3. A cow
Oh, you silly moo. A Chinese farmer from Fujian province
spent four days looking for his lost cow back in 2010, only to find her trapped
down a sewer. Locals were alerted by the strange moo-ing sounds emanating from
said sewer. When she popped her head out of an open manhole, the kind-hearted
locals fed the poor cow some grass. Apparently, she was pretty unflustered by
the whole affair. Once she was winched out to freedom, she simply wandered over
to the nearest patch of grass and continued munching. All in a day’s grazing,
4. An elephant
A baby elephant in Sri Lanka got stuck down a drain - a
large drain (and it was a small elephant, but still...). Elephants apparently
roam wild in Hambantota, but this little dumbo fell afoul of the drainage
system in the region back in 2016. Luckily all he seemed to be suffering from
(apart from unwanted fame as a bewildered star of social media) was an injured
leg. So, he packed his trunk and off he went to the animal welfare centre.
5. 200 ravers
Yep, the stupidest one of the lot happened right here in the
UK. Newcastle to be precise, in 2017. These weren’t unlikely items of rubbish
or innocent lost animals slushing around the pipeworks, this was a purposeful,
planned gathering of willing human participants who all thought it’d be a great
idea to have a party one Saturday night. In the sewer.
The slimy, stinking city sewer. They even went to the
trouble of rigging up a sound and lighting system. Because mixing water and
electricity is always a good idea, right? The illegal rave got busted by police
at 4am after one poor party-goer ratted on the rest, citing safety concerns.
Police said they thought university students were involved. Ah right, that all
makes perfect sense now. Phew.
We all have that fear of dropping our jewellery down the
sink. Unfortunately for some people, that’s a reality. Whether it’s
carelessness or just an accident thanks to slippery fingers, we can only
imagine how much jewellery goes down the drain each year.
It’s not all bad, though. In an incident in the US, a
commemorative university class ring was found by a sewer worker in 2018. The
item had the name of the owner and a volleyball emblem. And, thanks to the
power of social media, the ring was reunited with the owner… 27 years after
they’d lost it!
7. An alligator
It’s said that New York’s sewer system is home to
alligators. According to an urban legend of the city, people would buy baby
alligators and then realise that they don’t make great pets, resulting in them
being flushed down the toilet. Though this might just be a legend (it’s
probably way too cold for them down there), this didn’t stop a man in East
Harlem finding one. In 1935, the alligator was spotted down a manhole and was a
whopping 8ft long. When it comes to weird things found in sewers, this is up there
Apparently, lots and lots of gold is found down in sewers
all over the world. This probably links back to our point on long-lost
In Japan, a sewage treatment facility said that they had
found lots of gold in sewer sludge. They’re said to have found 5 million yen in
gold from the sludge they were processing. That’s over £30,000 worth with
current exchange rates. It happened because of the large number of precision
equipment manufacturers in the area that were making use of the precious metal.
You’ve probably heard horror stories of snakes slithering up
into a toilet bowl. In places like Australia and South Africa, this is a
In Australia, one woman was bitten on the bottom by a carpet
python in her toilet. The python must’ve been spooked as it was probably
slithering into her toilet to avoid the heatwave. Snakes have been said to
follow rats that have also been using the sewer pipes to cool off or an escape
from the world beneath the ground.
Talk about a surprise excavation! In 2013, Construction
workers near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, were digging out a sewer system
extension when they came across a dinosaur skeleton. Experts for the Royal
Tyrell Museum closed the area for a day and a half and found out that it was a
Hypacrosaurus who lived in the Cretaceous period around 65-99 million years
11. A Rolex
In Essex, UK, a contractor was flushing out a drain on the
roadside. To his surprise, he found a Rolex watch. The Rolex, an 18-carat gold
Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph, was valued at about £22,000. What a find!
Ensure there's nothing weird in your water
Thankfully, nothing too mind-boggling is likely to make its
way out of your actual tap, and our system is well equipped to filter out
the normal nasties you don’t want lurking in your water.
We cannot, however, take any responsibility for the weird
and not-so wonderful finds that somehow end up flushing around in the sewers.
If you want that extra little bit of purity, however, check out our Virgin Pure
water system, designed to filter out all the nastiness.
Next, explore the surfaces in the home where bacteria might
be lurking, including a few surprising ones, with our article listing the dirtiest areas in the house.