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-   -   Will rats eat the soles of your feet while you sleep? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=565061)

No Wikipedia Cites 05-29-2010 04:40 PM

Will rats eat the soles of your feet while you sleep?
 
In THe other side of Heaven the missionary sleeps with his feet uncovered and wakes up with his feet covered in his own blood; the rats nibbled it good.

Is this true? Will rats do this? Why not eat other parts (like the face)? And if they do, why doesn't the person wake up in pain?

Rhodes 05-29-2010 04:49 PM

I lived in Polynesia for a while. Never heard of rats eating feet. A giant centipede nibbled on my back while I was sleeping, and rats nibbled on my rice bags, but that's not the same.

The movie was otherwise a great portrayal of experiences a Mormon missionary would have in Polynesia.

Napier 05-29-2010 05:18 PM

I think the bigger question is whether you will sleep while rats eat the soles of your feet.

There was a grisly episode with a neighbor who's quadriplegic, though. Her dog ate part of her foot while she was in bed. The noise woke her up, and she lay there for some time till the visiting nurse came, not even knowing for sure what was going on.

yorick73 05-29-2010 07:25 PM

Here are two stories about rats eating a baby's toes and another baby's face.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...ler_home_.html

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,255328,00.html

flodnak 05-30-2010 03:28 AM

In general, rats are cautious creatures. If there is enough food around, they will take what requires the least effort and exposure on their parts. They will hunt if they have to, in fact they're good hunters of small prey. But rats have to be really hungry to attack something significantly larger than they are. They are not vicious, blood-thirsty killers. They're just excellent survivors and will eat what they have to.

Notice that in the stories yorick73 linked to, the victims were babies. There's a reason for that: small babies can't fight back or get away. Rat bites hurt, and any target who can get away or kill the rat will do so. I don't know if rats are more likely to bite feet than other body parts, but if they do, it's probably because they smell interesting. Well, interesting if you're a rat.

Slightly off-topic, but I'm frustrated that the first linked article used a photo of what is clearly a pet rat, and asked a poll question about pet rats, in an article about wild rats! These weren't pet rats gone wrong that attacked the unfortunate babies, they were wild city rats. Same species, radically different behavior patterns.

BigT 05-30-2010 08:32 AM

A rat bit my finger once as I slept, but, before I could react in my groggy state, it had already run away, as if it realized "Hey, that's not food."

ralph124c 05-30-2010 08:38 AM

Will cockroaches eat you eyebrows while you sleep? This seems to be a popular belief in Latin America.

Mississippienne 05-30-2010 01:34 PM

A friend-of-a-friend is a Vietnam veteran, and told me that when he was in Vietnam, he and some buddies would take turns sleeping outside in the cooler air. One night he woke up to find a rat sitting on his chest! Didn't gnaw off anything of his, though.

ouryL 05-30-2010 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rhodes (Post 12513201)
I lived in Polynesia for a while. Never heard of rats eating feet. A giant centipede nibbled on my back while I was sleeping, and rats nibbled on my rice bags, but that's not the same.

The movie was otherwise a great portrayal of experiences a Mormon missionary would have in Polynesia.

I never heard "them" called rice bags before.;)

YogSosoth 05-30-2010 02:00 PM

Never going on vacation in those places ever....

mnemosyne 05-30-2010 09:11 PM

The cat my parents are adopting had been hit by a car and had a badly damaged leg that, in the time between getting hit and being found, some animal had begun to eat. The leg had to be amputated. The vets couldn't say what kind of animal did it, but rats were at the top of the list of suspects.

Said cat also had a BB gun pellet in its neck, causing a rather large abscess (since removed and treated). He's probably down to about 3 lives by now...!

sunshineliz 07-11-2013 07:15 PM

Yes, it really did happen to John Groberg. But the soles didn't split open until he stood up.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0250371/trivia

Why it didn't wake him up, I have no idea. I can guess that because there is so much callous skin on the soles, that the rats didn't eat far enough to hit nerves, and just made the skin so thin that it ruptured when he stood.


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