The idea of being bitten by a rat is naturally repulsive for many people, and with the long history that rats have of transmitting diseases to people it is natural for it to be a repulsive idea. However, one idea that is sometimes raised is that rats will naturally try to bite the neck of a person if they are going to bite them, as this is one of a person’s most vulnerable and exposed areas. This would be particularly dangerous to people if the rat was to bite the jugular vein which is found in the neck, which can bleed profusely and lead to death quite quickly, but is this something that a rat would really do?

The Way Rats Kill Smaller Animals

Rats are not generally aggressive animals, and although they are omnivores meaning they can eat vegetable matter and meat, they will generally not kill too often unless food sources are particularly scarce. However, one situation where they may be aggressive is where they encounter mice within their territory, and as mice are competing for the same food sources, then they may kill and eat these mice, known as muricide. As rats are much larger than mice in most cases, the attacks usually kill the mice quickly, and a rat will normally attack with bites around the neck, head and face of the mouse to kill it.

Will Rats Bite People?

There are several cases of rat bites reported every year, and these can range from those where people have stumbled on to a rat’s nest to cases where a rat has bitten a person as it tries to get to food on their skin. Rats will generally try to avoid people if they can, especially people who are active and moving about, as the risk of coming into contact with such a threat will outweigh any potential benefits. The majority of cases where rats bite people tend to be where the rat is startled, and doesn’t have an obvious escape route, while there are also a small number of cases of vulnerable and elderly patients being bitten, especially if there are food residues left on their skin.

The Myth Of Rats Biting The Human Neck

When it comes to the idea of a rat actually targeting a human’s neck as a potential location to bite, then it seems that this is a myth likely to have developed based on how a rat will attack potential prey and smaller animals. However, a person is a very different case to a mouse, and the truth is that a rat will rarely have the perception to be able to identify the full body of a person, let alone target one particular area of the body. There may be occasionally be cases where the neck is the closest or easiest part of the body for the rat to bite, but bites to hands and feet are much more likely than a rat actually targeting a person’s neck in this way.

What To Do If You Are Bitten By A Rat

Rat bites are fairly small, but as a rat does have sharp teeth it is possible that such a bite will bleed a reasonable amount before you are able to staunch the bleeding. Try to wash the wound with water as well as you can, and try to stop the bleeding, wrapping it loosely. You should seek a doctor or general practitioner as soon as possible, as there will be a number of tests to be carried out to see if you have contracted any diseases, and you may also need a tetanus jab in order to prevent this infection from taking hold too.

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