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Schoolgirl attacked by rat

Tuesday, 05 March 2013

A Symonds Yat girl is recovering after being attacked by a wild rat as she slept in her bed.
Seven-year-old Francesca Williams woke terrified at 2am on Thursday morning (28th February) telling her parents that “a brown animal had attacked her”.
The rat bit the schoolgirl’s arm and scratched her face, causing some bleeding from the wounds. It is thought that the animal had possibly crawled into her bed for warmth, and attacked as she stirred and disturbed it.
Not able to see an animal in the room, the family’s Jack Russell terrier Hallie, now nicknamed Hallie the Hero, was brought in to sniff out the culprit, sure enough emerging with the rat, pictured.
Francesca lives with mother Wendy, who runs Paws Pets pet shop in Monmouth, and father Darren at The Doward, near Symonds Yat, along with her older brother and sister. Not a stranger to animals, Francesca is used to the family’s large collection of pets, which include dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and fish. However, having given Francesca such a fright, it seems that even tame rats will not be appearing on this list any time soon.
“She doesn’t like rats now,” said mum Wendy. “Although she was famous for the day in school as she told her classmates her story. They are actually covering the topic ‘dangerous wild animals’ at the moment”.
Known to many as a verminous animal, rats carry various harmful diseases. Francesca was fortunately up to date with her tetanus inoculations and was given broad spectrum antibiotics as well. Her parents have also been warned by the doctor to look out in the coming days for any flu-like signs such as fever.
“You hear your child screaming, and expect it to be nightmares. You never think it will be real,” said Wendy.
With no signs through the house of any rat activity, such as burrowing, droppings or nesting, the family can only be left to think that the rat had come into the house that day.
Despite not having seen a rat near the house before, Wendy has advice for those not taking the infamous animals seriously: “People should take this as a warning that if you have a problem with rats outside, you need to deal with it. Don’t assume they will stay outside, because you could be in for a shock.”

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