Some Facts about Rats in the Wild
It might come as a puzzling definition to you, but by convention, when the word "wild" is used to refer to a rat, that is referred is not actually a kind of rodents that live in the great outdoors (no, not like what you see in NatGeo or Discovery Channel). Wild rats actually refer to rats that live in and around human habitats. They are the rodents that we see in garbage dumps, in sewers and in the subway. They live in farms and cities -- or just about every place where they can forage through human food leftovers and the like. The term "wild rats" was coined to distinguish these rodents from those which are kept are pets, since it is also very common for city-dwellers to have pet rats at home. For added distinction, wild rats are commonly associated to low socioeconomic status in cities and other urban places.
These rodents do not normally bite humans; in fact, these animals are scared of humans. As much as possible, they do not want any human interaction; they would hide at the very first sign of human presence. However, in cases when these animals are frightened or hurt, they would "accidently" bite instinctively. Based on medical records, not too many people have been bitten by rats in the city. This low number established the claim that wild rat bite is rare. However, we also know that a great number of cases might have been unreported because many people do not really make a big deal out of it. But in general, based on those which have been reported, most of those bitten by these rodents were "attacked" while they are asleep at night. It is then possible that the biting may have only happened by accident, perhaps the rats are ran over by sleeping victims, frightening or hurting them. Moreover, most of the bites actually occurred in the hands, fingers and feet.
About 98% of all rat bite cases reported where easily given remedy by simple washing with soap and water. Only about 2% lead to serious infections and other illnesses. Of this two per cent, the most common illness is the rat pox which is more commonly called the rat-bite fever. In general, rats (no matter how populous they are) are considered to be low-risk rabies carrier in US and in Europe.
The Statistics Associated to Wild Rat Bites
Experts believe that only 10% of all wild rat bite cases are actually reported every year. This means that the statistical data gathered and used for studies related to rat bites are probably based on only on tenth of the actual data. Nonetheless, the results can still be considered reliable because of effective sampling procedures. Thus, we can be certain that when the researchers said that about 59% of all reported incidents are not even reported to proper health facilities, rather, the victims would opt to self-medicate. In a study conducted to some of the children living in Pennsylvania (between 4 and 18 years old), it was concluded that children are most likely to be bitten by a dog 36 times before it is bitten by a rat.
Moreover, what is more surprising is that rat bites are even rarer in places where they are most common. For example, in a survey conducted in Baltimore where about 64% of all respondents said that they have seen rats in the streets and other public places, of which only 6% said that they have seen rats at home, it was found out that majority of the rat bite cases still happened at home despite the disparity in the population of the rats found in both places. As a conclusion to this, experts agree that the rats actually do not seek out humans to bite them. Most of the incidents happened at home simply because rats and humans have more chance to interact there.
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