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Ouch! When bitten by a rat, first stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a rubber band. The wound on the top of my index finger is just from the upper incisors, nothing compared to what a rat's lower incisors can do...

Ouch! When bitten by a rat, first stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a rubber band. The wound on the top of my index finger is just from the upper incisors, nothing compared to what a rat’s lower incisors can do…

 

 

Rats should not bite

This might be the nightmare of many, but rest assured: It is very unlikely that a rat would bite you.

I can only think of three scenarios:

1) You encountered a wild rat, who had no place to flee.
2) You’re approaching a pet rat, who has been severely mistreated.
3) You’re handling an overly aggressive male pet rat.

In addition, rats have bite inhibition just like dogs. So a pet rat should not draw blood: They’re allowed to nip you as a warning or during playfight. But if they harm you, you need to apply methods to stop them right away, or you run the risk of getting a biter.

 

A rat bite is no joke

Scenario 1) applies to me, as I rescued a wildie. In addition she had daughters who all looked like her and I sometimes mixed them up with severe consequences. Mimi Von der Strasse is a rat to reckon with.

So I’ve had my fair share of rat bites and it is no laughing matter:

Rats’ teeth are razor sharp and slice through your skin like through butter. In addition, they don’t just bite, they rather grind and very quickly cut into the flesh beneath your skin.

The good news is that accordingly the incision is precise and thin. If you act fast, this can heal very well and quickly.

And act fast you will need to, as there’s a lot of blood, streaming from your finger. So first priority is to stop the bleeding.

 

First Aid for rat bites

1. Take a tissue and fold it up into a strong, about 2cm wide bandage. Wrap this as tight as you can around the wound. Make sure your finger is bent so that the wound is closed, don’t stretch it open.

2. Take a rubber band and evenly tie it around your finger, but concentrate the pressure mostly on the wound. Strap it quite tightly. Watch out that your finger doesn’t turn blue: Rather than rewrapping, just release one turn of the rubber band.

 

Ensure the rat bite gets looked after

Resist the temptation to look if it’s ok yet. It won’t be. And it’ll start bleeding again like hell.

This is only a temporary solution to stop the initial bleeding. There are other ways. I tried cayenne pepper once, but it’s difficult to apply and it burns.

Removing the tissue can open the wound again, rather wash off any paper that gets stuck to the wound.

Once the bleeding is under control, you can clean the wound with disinfectant and bandage it properly, a plaster might be sufficient.

Just to be on the safe side, check that your tetanus vaccination is still up to date. Despite common belief, there is little chance you could catch a disease from a rat. But any bite can lead to infection, so consulting a doctor might be advisable.

 

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