WHAT TO DO WHEN ATTACKED BY RODENTS
As I was parking my car in a parking lot at a nearby mall, I noticed a strange commotion along the sides of the lot. No, it is not a commotion between humans; what I witnessed was like something out of a National Geographic documentary. A rat was cornered by a stray cat, but what was impressive was that both animals are already almost of the same size. The cat wanted to attack, obviously but was keeping her distance as the rat was very fierce, showing its fangs ready to bite as well as a showing of its claws. The rat was even bulkier than the cat, and I was hoping, for the cat’s sake, that she would just back off and just let the rat be. She would not stand a chance against the cornered rat. I did not stay on to watch the fight, however, as I was in a hurry to finish my chores and go home.
That incident, to me, underscores the fact that rats will fight, bite, and claw their way out of trouble. It has been known that their first line of defense is to run; rats do not like confrontation and will avoid it as much as possible. They do bite regardless of whether they are up against animals or humans when they are threatened.
Rats typically avoid humans
Rats are highly intelligent creatures. They are highly inquisitive and like to go out to investigate. They only do this at night though, when they know humans are already asleep. They become active inside homes and buildings when the surrounding area is peaceful already. After all, they are nocturnal creatures.
However, when they are cornered, or feel threatened, they fight back. They can bite, or scratch humans or animals, which is similar to what I have mentioned earlier. Their bites can be quite painful.
Rats are blessed or maybe cursed, with incisors that are constantly growing all their lives. Due to this fact, they need to chew on something constantly. This explains why we have furniture, clothing, books, paper, boxes, cardboard, and other similar items that are so full of bite marks form these creatures. Chewing on something helps them stop their incisors from growing any further. Then there is also the issue of them biting humans as well. There are some cases wherein rats bite sleeping, humans. They wake up not knowing that rats bit them. Therefore it is important to know the signs and symptoms of rat bites. These are redness and swelling on the bite site, pain, and sometimes a pus-filled wound.
All bites, regardless of who did it, are painful. Rat bites are special since their saliva contains dangerous diseases like rat-bite fever, leptospirosis, and Hantavirus. Humans are also susceptible to tetanus if bitten by a rat.
Rat bites can be described as either deep or shallow and bleeding will occur. Some bites appear to have a single puncture only, while other bites show multiple abrasions. Though it is rare that infections do happen after a bite, rat bites should be cleaned thoroughly, disinfected, and given proper care and attention. Though it is rare that rabies may occur, proper medical attention should be given after a rat bite.
Signs and symptoms of rat bites
Pain, redness, and swelling are common symptoms of rat bites. If a secondary infection occurs, a pus-filled wound appears. Symptoms include muscle aches, headache, vomiting, joint pain, fever, and rash.
Diseases that can be caused by rat bites
Another big reason why we should stay away from rat bites is that they can transmit diseases. What are these diseases? Here is a list below.
Rat-bite fever – As the name suggests, rat-bite fever is a disease contracted by humans after getting bitten by rats. It is caused by two different bacteria: the Streptobacillus moniliformis and Spirillum minus. Rats infected by one of these two bacteria can transmit rat-bite fever. Signs and symptoms are fever, headache, vomiting, muscle pains, and joint pains. Symptoms usually begin from 3 to 10 days after the rat bite. If not treated, rat-bite fever can be a serious disease, and can even cause death.
The Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) – HPS is a severe respiratory disease caused by the hantavirus infection. It can also lead to death. This disease is transmitted via direct contact with rats, especially if bitten. Aside from being bitten by a rat, humans can become infected through exposure or inhalation of rodent urine, droppings, or saliva. Eating food that is contaminated by rodent droppings, urine, or saliva can also transfer the virus. Early symptoms of HPS include fever, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, headache, fatigue, and muscle pains. Late symptoms, which would appear 4 to 10 days after the initial phase, include coughing and shortness of breath. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome has a high mortality rate at 38%, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Tetanus – Tetanus is a disease caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. A rat bite by a rat carrying this bacteria in its saliva is one of the ways humans contract this disease. This bacteria enters the body through breaks in the skin, This disease is also known as lockjaw, since its main characterization is muscle spasms that begins with the jaw, and moves on to the rest of the body. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, trouble with swallowing, sweating, fast heart rate, and high blood pressure.
Treating a rat bite
To treat a rat bite, here are some tips:
- If bitten, stop any resulting bleeding. Clean your wound with antiseptic or peroxide then covers with clean gauze. Or you may wash with soap and water. Water should be warm. Wash the wound thoroughly with water, making sure that all the soap would be rinsed away to avoid irritation,
- If there is bleeding, make sure to control it until it stops. Rats, as I mentioned earlier, have teeth that are constantly growing. That is why rat bites can be deep, and the bleeding steady.
- After washing, put an antibiotic ointment and cover with a clean, dry dressing. Rat bites often lead to infection. You may need to seek medical help afterward to check for possible bacterial diseases.
- Try to capture the rodent that bit you if possible. This can help determine if the rodent is infected with a disease.
- After performing first aid treatment, seek immediate care from a doctor. These steps are only for first aid, and not the treatment itself. Even after days and weeks after the rat bite, be sure to check on the wound from time to time for any signs of rat-bite fever.
And of course, control the rat population
The best way to avoid rat bites is, well, make sure there are no rats in your house. Here are some steps on how to get rid of them:
- Maintain cleanliness. Rats thrive on garbage. It is one of their sources of food. Make sure your trash cans and garbage bins are covered and sealed.
- Store your food in sealed plastic containers. They can easily chew through boxes and cardboard, and these cannot protect your food from hungry rodents looking for food.
- Seal holes and cracks in your home. Rats can sneak into small holes smaller than a coin. These holes are possible entry points for these rats.
- Try to eliminate moisture in your home. Fix leaking pipes, faucets, and tubes. Rats like to breed in areas with high moisture.
- Try using traps and baits. Snap traps are still the most effective traps against rats. You can use peanut butter the size of a pea as bait. Place snap traps beside walls because rats crawl near one. They are very uncomfortable crawling out in the open.
- Remove clutter around the house. Old papers, boxes, and cardboard can be used as hiding places for rodents.
- Regularly dispose of your garbage. The less garbage, the less food source for rats.
Rats are not only nuisance pests, but they are also disease carriers. They have caused millions of deaths in mankind’s history, so getting rid of them is of utmost importance. If rat infestation has become too much of a problem, you can simply pick up the phone and call the rodent exterminator in North Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Why Go-Forth Pest Control?
Go-Forth Pest Control is the number one pest control expert in North and South Carolina. They have a team of expert professionals who are highly skilled and well trained, using only the latest and most advanced equipment in the business. They employ only family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination.
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned company, has earned the trust of residents and business establishments in the Carolinas for more than 50 years already. You may check us on Facebook, or Google us to see what our customers have to say about us.
For more information, just call us at 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.