Is rat feces dangerous to touch or breathe?
Yes. Were you expecting that answer? Sorry if you weren’t, but rat feces is actually incredibly dangerous to
both touch and breathe, often carrying a number of diseases. These diseases can affect both humans and other
animals - your household pets, for example.
There are a number of nasty bugs that rat carry and can transmit, and these will include worms, bacteria, viruses and
more. They can also transfer diseases via parasites and bugs that live on the fur of the rat too, primarily being fleas,
mites, ticks and lice. This means that a rat can transmit these diseases to you via direct contact, inhalation of spores,
ingestion, and even by biting and scratching. In short, this is an animal you probably won’t want to get too close to. Or
anything that the rat has come in contact with too …
The feces of a rat are particularly dangerous, and sadly that’s often the first indication to many homeowners that they have a
rodent problem at all. The droppings, looking much like a grain of rice only dark brown / black and slightly bigger, are also
bigger than their small cousins poop too - mice. You obviously won’t want to get too close to these when you’re cleaning up,
and you might want to reinforce that point after you’ve learned about the kind of conditions these rat feces can pass on:
Salmonella - It’s not just you who can fall prey to salmonella, your household pets can too, and so can your children.
The easiest way that this is passed on is when rats wee or poop in a water source, or over food. If the rat were to run over a pet’s bowl,
for example, it could contaminate the water in the bowl with both urine and feces.
You probably won’t feel anything at first, but between 12 and 72 hours after you have been infected, things will start to turn particularly
unpleasant. You may experience abdominal cramps to start with, moving on to a fever, and without a shadow of a doubt, some vomiting and diarrhea
Treatment for this is relatively simple when you’re a fit and healthy adult - plenty of fluids to replace the ones you’ve lost, and some rest.
You will usually recover from this by yourself, without the need for medical intervention.
Other people, on the other hand, including the young, the elderly, and also those who are already unwell, may suffer badly at the hands of this
rat-transmitted disease, one that is very easily passed from human to human if you don’t wash your hands.
Leptospirosis - Another disease that is passed on from the waste matter of rats, leptospirosis can be very unpleasant indeed.
Other animals can become infected with this, such as pigs, dogs, cats, cattle, and even other rodents, and it is passed on via contaminated soil,
food or water, as well as coming into direct contact with (for example) an infected rat’s urine. If a rat were to pee on soil, that soil could be
contaminated for weeks, and in some cases even weeks.
Another disease that probably won’t display symptoms immediately, the first symptoms are often commonly confused with a cold - headaches, a slight
chill / fever, muscle pain. It is when things start to decline - when you experience vomiting and an upset stomach with a skin rash, and maybe even
eye sensitivity, that you start to think that something might be wrong, and this can be up to two weeks after you were first infected. This can make
diagnosis quite difficult, delaying treatment. This often comes in the form of oral antibiotics.
These are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the diseases passed on via rat feces, and you can also include much more serious diseases such as
Weil’s disease, rat bite fever, and even more serious and deadly conditions, such as the plague.
In short, keep away from rat poop. If you see rats in your home, take urgent action to get them out, and then do your research to ensure you clean up
after them the right way and thoroughly.
For more rat information, visit our rat removal tips page, or for more specific how-to instructions, read the how to get rid of rats page with 6 step-by-step instructions.
If you have a problem with rats above your ceiling in your house, read my rats in the attic guide. The most important part of rat control is sealing shut entry holes into the building, but after
you've done that, you'll want to know how to kill rats humanely to complete the rat control job. If you need to hire professional help in your city, click on my directory of over
200 rat removal companies servicing 95% of the USA. we can help your with your rat problem!
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