Do Rats Carry Rabies? | Symptoms of Rabies in Rats

Do you have rats troubling your peace at home? Did you know rats can carry many diseases? 

We all know rabies is a dreadful disease. It’s a deadly virus transmitted through an infected animal’s saliva.

But are you not sure if rats can carry rabies?

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But can a rat bite spread rabies? Are these questions haunting you? 

Don’t worry! We have them answered. So keep reading to find out. 

Can Rats Have Rabies?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bites from infected dogs are the leading cause of human rabies-related death.

But rats, too, can have rabies like any other mammal. But this doesn’t mean they are rabies spreaders. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that it has been noted that small rodents like rats are rarely infected with rabies and cannot spread the infection to humans. 

dogs have rabies

Do Rats Carry Rabies? 

Only a very few rats are said to carry rabies. Though rats CAN carry rabies, they are NOT common carriers. 

There are zero recorded cases of a rabies-infected rat transmitting the rabies virus to a human.

So small rodents are not at significant risk of transmitting rabies. 

Rats, being relatively small mammals, wouldn’t likely survive an attack by a predator infected with rabies.

This low survivability rate would prevent the rat from spreading the virus to other rats or mammals.

How Do Rats Get Rabies?

Rats get rabies when they are attacked or bitten by an infected animal. This happens when it gets wounded, and the infected animal’s saliva enters its bloodstream.

They can also get it by consuming an infected animal or during a fight for food, water, and territory with infected animals like skunks or raccoons.

But these are less likely to happen as the predatory animals mostly kill these small rats rather than just bite or attack them. 

Symptoms of Rabies in Rats

If you doubt whether a rat has rabies, observe them from afar. Some of the symptoms are obvious only at the later stages of infection. 

Some common symptoms of rabies in rats include :

  • Appearing unbalanced
  • Biting its body or tail
  • Difficulty in climbing or walking

Can Rat Bites Transmit Rabies? 

A rat bite can cause rabies if the animal is infected. But the chances of getting a rat bite are so low.

Even if your pet rat has bitten you,  you don’t have to panic because pet rats don’t carry diseases often.

But if a wild rat has bitten you, you should seek immediate medical care and guidance.

Wild rats carry many viruses and may also be infected with rabies.

So tell your physician the source of the rat that bit you before you get treated to receive the proper treatment and medicines.

And please remember that though you may not contract rabies from rat bites, rats can carry other diseases like hantavirus, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), Tularemia, and Salmonella. 

So make sure that you get medical help immediately if you get bitten by a rat.

A timely and proper medical assistance can help prevent you from getting infected by such diseases. 

can rats transmit rabies

Should You Get a Rabies Vaccine if You Get a Rat Bite? 

A rabies vaccine is unnecessary for rat bites unless your doctor finds that the rat that has bit you is infected with rabies.

The chances of getting rabies from a rat bite are very low.

Final Words

Rats can carry rabies, but the chance of them transmitting infection is very low. So you need not panic! 

But if you still have doubts, contact your local pest management to find out if the rats in your house have rabies.

And if you get bitten by a rat, seek medical help and confirm well before you go for further treatment.

And most importantly, if you see even one of these rodents in your house, get rid of them immediately.

You can use home remedies like baking soda, bleach, or even electric rat traps to eliminate them permanently.

Photo of author


I'm Daniel White, and I live in Jacksonville, Florida. The warm and humid climate of Florida gives an ideal habitat for many different kinds of pests. So, if I had to live in Florida, I had to learn how to deal with these pests. Now, I have 7 years of experience in Pest Control.

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