Do rats attack human necks?

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Rats are often given quite a bad reputation, a slightly unfair one when you consider these are just rodents trying to make their way in life. Used in horror movies, and often depicted as something dangerous, vicious, and generally unpleasant, they do carry with them their fair share of nasty and dangerous diseases, perhaps giving you more of a reason than a horror-story gimmick to dislike this rodents with vengeance.



As well as carrying with them disease threats, present in both their saliva, urine, feces, and even their dead bodies, they are quite strong animals. Much stronger, perhaps, than you first may have thought. Their jaws are incredibly powerful, and combined with teeth that constantly grow and are just as sharp as their claws, their chewing and gnawing action will make it through any material. If they can chew through concrete blocks and bricks (which they can), human flesh is hardly going to pose a problem.

Going back to the myth, however, of rats attacking human necks and throats … Well, if we’re being honest about this, most rats are going to run away, rather than try to stay and fight. They don’t want to fight you. They don’t want to attack you. They just want to escape from the room they are currently cornered in, and be free to go about their business again. For the record, their business is sleeping for seventy-five percent of the day, spending the rest of that time grooming and socializing with fellow rats in the group, and spending the nighttime foraging for food, which they will then hoard.

Rats are more scared of humans than we humans are scared of them, and that’s saying something. If a rat was left alone with a baby in the room, the rat would more than likely run away, scurry through a hole, never to be seen again. The rat probably won't go for that baby, unless the baby has the rat cornered and is trying to play with it. If the rat can’t get away, it will lash out in every and any way that it can, and if that means going for human flesh, that’s just the way it will go.

Rats do not specifically hunt out human throats, however, and this is where the myth-bit comes into play. Rats actually have incredibly poor eyesight, instead relying on their amazing sense of smell and sensing of air flow to get around. They probably wouldn’t be able to see your throat / neck, so aiming for it would be quite difficult. There’s a good chance that the rat is just desperately trying to get out, and with its dim eyesight, just aims for the light. The neck is the slimmest part of the human body, and light would penetrate either side of it. Any cases of the rat trying to “attack a human throat” is probably just a case of the rat trying to get away.

This is not to say that you will not be attacked by a rat, however, and that’s why we would always recommend preceding with caution when you have a rat infestation on your hands. Live cage traps put you in the direct line of fire of these animals, and with sharp teeth and claws AND the spread of disease to worry about, this is definitely not a creature you will want to be in close proximity to.

Rats might not go for human necks, but they will attack if cornered. Keep away - use snap traps, or give us a call to see how we can rid your commercial or residential property of rats today.

Go back to the Rats in the Attic home page. You can also read about Do rats bite humans in their sleep? or What if you are bitten by a rat

If you have any questions or comments, e-mail me at david@attic-rat.com