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If you corner a RAT, it will go for your throat!?

It's a rat, and you've got it backed into a corner, and then...


Well it sounds plausible at first, as RATS are not simply "big mice" but are legendary ferocious beasts and can be THIS BIG <exaggerated gesture>. Or at least, that's what some people would expect you to believe.

But, if you corner a rat, is it really true that it goes for your throat? Speaking from personal experience as someone who has actually cornered a rat, I can tell you that it did not go for my throat! Instead, the rat looked at me for a few seconds, though it seemed longer, and then it SQUEAKED! It was a terrible, scary high-pitched sound, and this would have caused some people to run away, but I had put quite a lot of work into cornering the rat and I wasn't going to run away as I was hoping to catch the rat, alive, in a cardboard box, and then to release it into the wild. (Where's that, then?)

The legend of rats "going for your throat" is something which can be explained. Supposing you could corner a rat and were to try to close-in on it. From the rat's perspective this would not be good, and its prime aim in such a situation would be to escape. It would therefore make a flying leap, not at your throat, but at the daylight over your shoulder. But from your perspective, the rat would appear to be leaping "towards you", and you'd probably move your head to dodge it! But then afterwards as you remembered the event in frightening slow motion, the rat would seem to have been leaping towards where you were just before the moment it passed over your shoulder. It then follows in a speculative "what if" kind of a way, that if you hadn't dodged the leaping rat so deftly, it would have been a direct hit, with the rat biting you on the throat! The final step of the retrospective logic is to attribute intent, and it therefore seems plausible that the rat was intent on biting you in the jugular.

That rat, meanwhile, had no such intentions, and was simply trying to escape.

Other notes: Rats are not harmless, and if you get bitten by a rat you may end up with the humiliating and boring penalty of waiting for hours in a hospital waiting room.

Plus, rats can be presumed to have individual personalities, and some might have a different idea about their tactics in various situations. Personally, I feel there is a certain finesse in making a final suicidal attack on an enemy. Then again, different people (and different rats), may have different opinions. More about rats here.


Also see the matter of "You're never more than 20ft from a rat" (it's not true, you know!)

Plus, what about rats leaving a sinking ship? Takes thinking about.


As far as I know, there have been no (zero) cases of a person having been bitten on the throat by a rat which they had cornered. If you know of any such case, please write in and let me know.