Treating Rat Bites

Things You Can Do on Your Own

Rodents that live in the wild or those habituating in city sewers and other dirty places have very harmful bites. For example, rats bite (deep or not) can already lead to various serious skin irritations and infections; the most common illness caused by such is the rat-bite fever. In the event that you are bitten by a rat, it is important that you immediately seek for medical attention -- while waiting for the right treatment, be sure to sanitize the affected area by washing it with soap and water; apply disinfecting cream if it is available. Read through the steps given below to learn more about treating rat bites.

Rat Bites

1. Stay away from wild rats!

The most effective way to avoid being bitten by a rat is by staying away from them. You should not approach or touch a wild rat even if it looks tame or scared. Although it is already an established fact that rats and other rodents are generally afraid of humans, some rats can be quite aggressive and would attack whenever an opportunity comes along. Pet rats belong to a special case since these rodents are already very used to human presence. These rodents may not bite on normal circumstances, but when they are frightened and improperly handled, they might also scratch or bite their handler. If rat interaction is inevitable, it is most advised that you wear protective gloves.

2. Be alert all the time.

In case a rat has already bitten someone near you, by virtue of common sense, you should be cautious and find a way to avoid contact with the offending rat. Look for a pair of protective gloves and catch the rat before it hurts anyone else. If it is not your type to catch angry rats, better stay out of the way and let those who are willing to take charge do their task.

3. Act quickly.

If you are the victim, find a way to stop the bleeding of the affected area. As much as possible, do not use a tourniquet especially if the bleeding is not that severe. Do this while you look for soap and water. It might sting, but you need to thoroughly clean the wound -- inside and out. If you are not willing to endure the sting, you might only experience irritation afterwards. Dry the wound and cover with sanitized dressing. If you have an antibiotic cream at home, apply the cream on the wound first so that the dressing will not stick into the wound once it starts to dry out. It is almost very certain that the infected area will swell, thus, if it is your finger, you'd better remove all your rings to avoid future problems. Other signs of infection apart from swelling are reddening, pus and hot feeling around the area.

4. Consult a doctor.

You can never tell just how serious the wound is unless you go and see a doctor; stitches might be necessary for some wounds. Moreover, if the bite is deep enough, it might even cause serious infections. Thus, the opinion of a professional medical practitioner is indeed indispensible. Some people also seek for professional help in cases when they are bitten on the face, legs or hands as these wounds may lead to scarring.

Rat Trivia

While rat bites can cause serious illnesses like the famous rat-bit fever, it is extremely rare for them or other rodents to transmit rabies via their bites. Foxes, bats and skunks are some of the animals that can most likely spread rabies with their bites.

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Rats and Mazes

You do now that rats have been used as laboratory test subjects since time immemorial. You should have also paid notice to those mazes built for rats to run and test on. These mazes are actually built to measure certain physical and mental aspects of rats depending on what type of test are being run on them. Naturally of course, there is more than just one type of maze in order to fully test these aspects and reach maximum outputs and results. 

Since the early 20th century, rats have been examined how they respond and behave as they run in different types of maze, from T-shaped mazes, water mazes, to radial arms mazes. Generally, these different types of maze are used to measure the spatial learning capacity and memory in rats. Mazes actually help scientists unearth the general principles of a creature's learning capacity and hopefully would be utilized in human applications in the future. At present, mazes are being used to identify or determine the effects of certain conditions or treatments to the learning capacity and memory of rats. 

Rats and Mazes

You would be surprised to know that rats are actually amazing maze runners. Their ability to run and solve mazes is actually a by-product of their evolution. Rats have always been critters that burrow through tunnels and find their way out. It's of no surprise at all why they are such gifted maze running creatures.

The Classic Maze

This type of maze is the one that first pops into a person's mind. The maze is basically comprised of simple horizontal and vertical walls and a transparent ceiling. The platform can be with narrow passages or with wide ones depending on the level of test being performed on the rat. The rat would begin on one location (starting point), runs across the maze, and solve it as it reaches the other end where a reward awaits. 

Often the questions raised every after run of this maze would be: "How many tries did it take for the hungry mouse until it finished the maze?" Or how long did it take for the mouse to get to the other end without any mistake? Over time the results are recorded and are statistically graphed and interpreted. This will then become important data for the research in order to gain a study output.

The T-Maze

The T-Maze, as its name implies is actually a maze shaped like a letter "T". Often a reward is placed in the other side of the T or on both sides. The rat is then tasked to make a choice between the two sides or the T arm.

Often, T-mazes are used to determine the side preferences on rats. Whether there is no reward on the other side of the arm, what will the rat choose?

The Multiple T-Maze

A multiple T-maze is actually a T-maze in essence only that there are several T-Junctions that branch off from each T-zone. This is basically a much more complicated T-maze for rats to run on, therefore making it as well much more challenging. Such a maze is designed to accommodate much more complicated test programs would often extract much more specific information on the rat's behavioral aspects. 

The Y-Maze

This maze is actually quite similar to the T-maze. The only significant difference is that the Y-Maze has three identical arms therefore three choices for the rat to choose from. The Y-Maze is actually a much simpler version of the T-maze as the rat could easily through the end of the arms at the middle point.

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Rats' Aggression

Rats aggressive behavior is actually quite an interesting and at the same time distressing discussion for any pet rat owner.  We are even often bewildered and fond of seeing our pet rats run around chasing and sliding with each other but it's a different story when they begin to attack and hurt each other. Males who were originally dormant and docile in the first few months may become berserk and begin attacking other pet rats that are new to the environment. This often happens during their 6th month. Former peaceful rats may suddenly assault newly introduced ones thus making acquaintances between old and new rats apparently difficult or even impossible to some. Also, originally tame female rats may suddenly become wild and aggressive if their litters are still young.

The discussion on rat aggression has a lot of topics to cover about. There are even many publications and written accounts on rat aggressions, covering many different varieties of aggression literature. However, we do not hope to cover all of them in this article but we do hope to cite out the closely relevant points in the rat aggression topics. At least to those that are relevant to the two important stakeholders of this topic: a. the owner of the pet rat and b. any interested individuals concerning rat aggressions both natural and unnatural conditions. 

Rats Aggression


Rat Aggression is more accurately known as the agonistic behavior. This behavior refers to the complex of most animals to turn aggressive on the other members of the same species. However, the term agonistic behavior has a much broader sense than aggression which simply means a behavioral pattern that indicates intimidation and harming another.

Social Aggression

Also known as social agonistic behaviors, this is actually a group of several behaviors which includes motor patterns such as chasing, sliding, biting, boxing, scratching and as well as vocalization patterns both audible and inaudible. Agonistic behaviors may occur in different occasions depending on the given situation.

Sequences and Strategies in Aggression

Such behaviors are actually hinged with each other by different varieties of duration and intensity. The lowest degree or intensity of aggression can be classified under a common motor behavior, which is chasing. When the point of increased intensity comes, you may be able to notice the dramatic build up as chases would turn into stand-offs and eventually harsh physical contacts like fighting and boxing. However, such escalations may be quite rare in some instances and they are most unlikely to occur during simple chases.

Aggressive neck grooming is another behavior that indicates aggression in the species of rats. However, this is just a low intensity aggressive behavior. Grooming often leads to the rapid little nibbles that during such cases that nibbler would often seize folds in the neck skin of the one being groomed using their incisors. The rat being groomed may become stationery and would sometimes squeal or squeak softly. If there will be any sudden movement from the rat being groomed, it may trigger some anti-behaviors from the groomer.

Rat Prevention

Common sense folks, in order to know how to prevent rats, you need to realize why exactly do they infest your property in the first place. Here we go. 

3 FAQs on Rat Infestation

Rats are amongst the most destructive pests to lurk in areas where humans live and make a living. They can destroy properties and at the same time, threaten human life. These rodents are able to do this much damage because of their ability to adapt to virtually any kind of environment -- no matter how crowded or busy these environments are. They are also very comfortable with living in houses, gardens, sewers, streets and all the other places where they would find food. Moreover, they are not picky eaters and they can live even with very little amount of food. All these characteristics increased their fame as a notorious pest not only in agricultural areas but also in the metropolis.

Why Bother with Rat Infestation?

Since these pests are very inquisitive and curious, they would end up sniffing and nibbling all sorts of things. They would harbor harmful bacteria in their bodies and become infected themselves. Now, the biggest problem with rats is that they can easily contaminate food items which humans store and keep in their pantries and even on table tops. Their urine and droppings can bring different kinds of diseases. Rats also have a stinky odor. Some animals (like the little mice) even scurry away once they smell that a rat is coming. Moreover, because these rodents are "dirty" by nature, it is very common for rats to have fleas and ticks which can migrate from their bodies to the bodies of the pets in the house, or worse, to the unsuspecting sleeping human dwellers.

Rat Prevention

Apart from health reasons, rat infestations should also be addressed because they are very destructive. They would gnaw and chew on anything and everything that comes their way. You can almost expect that food items kept in plastic packages and carton boxes would have at least one nibbled hole through it if rats are present in a house. There have been fire emergencies in the past too which have been caused by faulty electrical wiring (which, of course, happened because a rat nibbled the insulation of the electrical wires).

Which Rats Usually Infest Properties?

There are so many rat species all around the world, but only two of them can be considered as "common" city rats. These are:

The Roof Rat

These rats are also called the black rats, although many of them have grey and brown coverings. Their underside is usually white, no matter what their fur color is and they have small bodies which make their long tails more pronounced. These rats are expert climbers.

The Norway Rat

Norway rats are also called brown rats because of their predominant color. While roof rats may have brown coverings, the real factor that really distinguishes a Norway Rat to that of a brown roof rat is the hue of their brown color. The later have deep and dark brown fur coverings while the first one would definitely have lighter shades of brown. These rats have large bodies too and their tails also appear "fat". They can swim and they love to dig burrows to serve as their homes.

What Do Rats Eat?

Rats and mice do not really stick to any kind of diet; they would eat whatever food it is that they can come across with. They would eat garbage, left-over food, decomposing biodegradables, fresh and rotten fruits, deeds, pet food, animal wastes and all sorts of things. This means that any un-kept and un-cleaned surrounding can be an inviting place to live for rats already. Having known this, it becomes obvious that regular clean-ups can greatly decrease the propensity of a rat infestation in your area.

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Rat Infestation Fact Sheet

Knowing just how dangerous a rat infestation can be, it becomes obvious why it is important to address it as soon as it is discovered. However, there are some cases when the owner of the property just couldn't afford to simply wait until their existence becomes obvious. In most cases, property owners need to be pro-active and really look for these rodents in areas where they usually make their nests and shelters. This way, there is a high chance for the owner of the property to stop their nesting immediately after they move-in into the property. The most common places where they nest are:

1. Rats like dark places where there is less or no human activities. Examples of these areas are the ceilings, roof void, in between walls and under floor tiles.

2. For some reasons, rats which commonly infest homes and other properties like to be cupboards and pantries. Perhaps they like the fact that there are so many items in these areas which can be nibbled and chewed every now and then.

3. These rodents also like to be near water heaters. In places where the temperature of the surrounding can drop to freezing points, it becomes imperative for rats to find a nest wherein they can stay and nurture their litters.

4. Almost every time, it can be expected that rats have been nesting behind large boxes, furniture and even working utility machines. If these items cannot be removed, the best way to keep rats from them is to move or shake them on a regular basis. This way, the rats will get the signal that the place is not actually free from human activities.

5. Rats also like to build nests or forage in heaps of garbage and other forms of rubbish materials. They would do the same to pile of wood or vegetation which has gone too thick.

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 rat infestation

How to Stop the Rats?

Rats, by nature, are nocturnal animals. They are most active at night and probably, the reason behind this is because they want to have as little human interaction as possible. This primal need to be away from humans (which is oxymoronic knowing that they actually depend on humans for food) is what pushes other rats to become diurnal (active by day) in areas wherein most of the activities happen at night, i.e. bars, clubs, theatres, etc. Thus, it can be said that rats are really very adaptable animals and they do so in order to survive in an environment that varies from time to time.

To spot rats despite their ever changing adaptions, it is good if we know the signs that imply that they are in fact present in an area. Some of these signs are:

a. droppings near walls, corners and around a nibbled food item (rat droppings measures about 12-18 mm and are usually black, grain-like and moist)

b. debris of gnawed items (could be paper, carton, fabric, shells, bones, etc.)

c. missing pet food

d. tracks of tiny rat paws scattered all over the area (well, most rats have their underside rubbed to the floor as they scurry here and there, in this case, what can be seem are not tracks but greasy "rub marks")

e. items with gnawed holes

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How to Protect Yourself From Rats?

Now, it is imperative that you protect yourself and your family from the harms that rat infestation can bring. Apart from eradicating them, you also need to do the following while your entire place is totally clear:

1. You need to keep all you food items in impenetrable containers, that is, use plastic or glass containers which rats cannot chew.

2. Do not recycle foodstuff which have been contaminated by rats, throw these items right away.

3. It is also possible that the utensils and cookware that you have at home might have been "touched" by rats, so it is good if you can find a way to sanitize them and keep them in storage where rats will never get the chance to find them.

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