Q: I shot a roof rat with my pellet gun in a woodpile. It had very odd, crusty growths in all of the exposed surfaces of skin, whereas the furred areas looked fine. Check his eyes, nose, feet and tail. My girlfriend says I should burn the house and quarantine the neighborhood. Is that necessary?
A: The poor rat has mange mites. Sarcoptic mites are generally species-specific but rat mites MIGHT briefly infect a human, leaving a red welt.
If you have unexplained itchy spots, consider the possibility of mange but don’t worry about it ….rat mites infecting a human is not a likely scenario.