When you think about kids and animal bites, the animal that comes to your mind may be a dog. This makes sense, as at least 400,000 American children are bitten by a dog per year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
However, there are other pets that can and do bite children. They include cats, snakes and ferrets. Here is a look at these animals.
Plenty of cats are independent and like to be left alone. Unfortunately, some kids have the propensity to seek out cats and to shower them with unwelcome attention. The result could be a bite that transmits bacteria into the child’s skin (cat claws piercing the skin can also transmit bacteria). An infection could occur, so as with any animal bite, it is a good idea to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
First things first: If the snake that bit your child is venomous, an emergency room visit is most certainly in order. Otherwise, clean the wound with antiseptic soap and warm water and put in a call to your child’s doctor. Snakes are capable of transmitting bacteria with their bites, so an infection could result without proper treatment. Two ways to minimize snake bites are to ensure the snake is full/fed before approaching it and to not offer it food directly from your hand. Your child, especially if he or she is younger, should not be allowed to feed a snake. As with all pets, snakes should be handled gently to reduce the chance of a bite.
Ferrets are strong-willed animals. Many can be trained not to bite, but when they are young, training kits (as baby ferrets are called) is difficult. They are also more playful and prone to excitement at this age. It is best to wait until your child is older and calmer before introducing him or her to a ferret, especially a young one.