Do rats bite humans in their sleep?

Wild rats are communal animals that have discovered great advantage in living in and around humans. They thrive on or in family dwellings, apartment complexes, farms, sewers, around restaurants, garbage dumps and many other places. One of the main fears expressed when folks get a rat infestation is the fear of being bitten. Wild rat bites are believed to be rare, but actual numbers are not available because rat bites are under-reported. It is estimated that only 10% of rat bite victims seek medical attention. Only a small percentage of those bites are reported to city authorities. While there is no age barrier for rat bites, the majority of rat-bite victims seem to be children. These bites occur at night, or while the victim is sleeping. Rats will most often bite parts of the body that are exposed while you sleep, like arms, hands, legs, and feet. It should be noted that rats, like any animal, if threatened or cornered, would fight to get away. However, most rats do not just randomly attack humans. Young children, infants, the bed-ridden or homeless are at most risk if living in an area with a high rat infestation.

Rat bites are surprisingly mild, requiring only a thorough cleaning and possible bandage. Because the infection rate of rat bites is very low (about 2 %,) hospital stays are rarely necessary. In the 2% of bites that are critical, the rat’s saliva can carries diseases, such as leptospirosis and Hantavirus. In atypical cases, rat bite victims have contracted rat-bite fever. Humans bitten by rodents are also susceptible to tetanus infections, rat pox, or rabies. Unfortunately, less than half of these infectious bites are reported to health officials.

If you are concerned about the possibility of rat bites, and you live in an area that have a high incidence of rat infestations, practice prevention. Check your home’s exterior from top to bottom for rat holes. These are very small, often the size of a quarter. They can be easily recognized by the dark greasy staining around them that is left when the rat drags its dirty body through. You might also see feces scattered around the hole. Rat feces looks like darkly colored grains of rice.

If you have seen a rat in your home, take measures to make it unwelcome. Do not leave out ANY food. No pet bowls, loaves of bread, exposed garbage or fruit in a bowl on your counter. Keep all boxed or bagged foods and items like potatoes in a closable cupboard. Keep litter boxes clean, and pick up doggy poo. Do not buy soaps or cleansers that smell like food, they will eat your soap. Keep your yard free of attractants as well. Bird feeders birdbaths, ponds are all a favorite spot for rats. Clean up any piles of brush and debris, they can hide in. Keep garbage in cans with secure lids. If you do happen to be bitten, seek medical attention, and report all bites to the popper authorities!

Read the How to get rid of rats page for helpful information and to learn more about Do rats bite humans in their sleep?

Do rats bite humans in their sleep?

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