Rats do bite people – mostly sleeping infants, perhaps 10,000 time a year! - and mostly from families living below the poverty line. Rat bites are painful and can easily become infected. The rats are apparently attracted to the remains of milk or food on the child’s face and/or hands. When the child responds to the licking with a reflexive “swat” the rat bites. Rats have also chewed through feeding tubes of bed-bound children.
All rodents gnaw, but because of their large size, rats can be particularly destructive. They are blamed for starting many fires when they gnaw through electric wires.
Developed by researchers in Penn State's College of Ag Science: Common Urban Pests