Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-29-2010, 04:40 PM
No Wikipedia Cites No Wikipedia Cites is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 896
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?
Old 05-29-2010, 04:49 PM
Rhodes Rhodes is online now
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: TX
Posts: 796
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.
Old 05-29-2010, 05:18 PM
Napier Napier is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 8,800
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.
Old 05-29-2010, 07:25 PM
yorick73 yorick73 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,175
Here are two stories about rats eating a baby's toes and another baby's face.,2933,255328,00.html
Old 05-30-2010, 03:28 AM
flodnak flodnak is offline
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: outside Oslo, Norway
Posts: 4,782
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.
An American flodnak in Oslo.
Do not open cover; no user serviceable parts inside.
Old 05-30-2010, 08:32 AM
BigT BigT is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 32,612
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."
Old 05-30-2010, 08:38 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 18,476
Will cockroaches eat you eyebrows while you sleep? This seems to be a popular belief in Latin America.
Old 05-30-2010, 01:34 PM
Mississippienne Mississippienne is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: The Notorious N.Y.C.
Posts: 2,653
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.
Old 05-30-2010, 01:47 PM
ouryL ouryL is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: 21° 20' N 157° 55' W
Posts: 6,519
Originally Posted by Rhodes View Post
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.

Last edited by ouryL; 05-30-2010 at 01:47 PM.
Old 05-30-2010, 02:00 PM
YogSothoth YogSothoth is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 14,000
Never going on vacation in those places ever....
Old 05-30-2010, 09:11 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Montréal, Québec
Posts: 8,772
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...!
Old 07-11-2013, 07:15 PM
sunshineliz sunshineliz is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
Yes, it really did happen to John Groberg. But the soles didn't split open until he stood up.

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.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:52 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

Copyright © 2017