Rats can be cute, cuddly, cool and often very friendly, but they also can pack one heck of a bite. Whether you are bitten by a domestic rat that is scared and defending itself or you have a chunk taken out of you by a wild rat, you need to treat a rat bite pronto. You can treat a rat bite with some medical supplies on your own, but going to a hospital may also be necessary.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Healing salve
- Rabies shots
Get away from the rat. If you are holding the rat, put it down immediately or it's likely to bite again. If you are out in the wild, shoo the rat away with kicking motions and leave the area. Stomping and clapping can help scare a rat away from you.
Stop the flow of blood. Rat bites can be deep and will likely bleed. Get a piece of gauze, or whatever material you have handy, and applying direct pressure to the wound.
Disinfect the cut. Pour a generous amount of hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol or witch hazel into the bite to remove any germs. Do this only after the blood has stopped flowing.
Apply Neosporin or another healing salve to the bite after you have disinfected and blotted it. This step is moot unless the bleeding has subsided. Keep applying pressure to the wound if it continues to bleed.
Take a clean pad of gauze and place it directly over the cut. Wrap it tightly with first aid adhesive tape. You want the bandage to be tight but not so tight that it cuts off circulation. Loosen the bandage if the area starts to feel tingly.
Seek medical attention. This is necessary if the bite refuses to stop bleeding or if you are unsure of the origin of the rat. A deep rat bite may need a stitch or two. If you’ve been bitten by someone’s pet rat or a rat in a pet store, you’re probably safe as far as rabies go. But if the rat is wild, you may need to get a series of rabies shots.
Tips and warnings
- Don’t pick a rat up by the tail. This is a sure way to get bit because rats can swing around and bite your hand or arm.