Wild animals usually avoid people. They might attack, however, if they feel threatened, are sick, or are protecting their young or territory. Attacks by pets are more common. Animal bites rarely are life-threatening, but if they become infected, you can develop serious medical problems.
To prevent animal bites and complications from bites:
- Never pet, handle, or feed unknown animals
- Leave snakes alone
- Watch your children closely around animals
- Vaccinate your cats, ferrets, and dogs against rabies
- Spay or neuter your dog to make it less aggressive
- Get a tetanus booster if you have not had one recently
- Wear boots and long pants when you are in areas with venomous snakes
If an animal bites you, clean the wound with soap and water as soon as possible. Get medical attention if necessary.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Dog Bite Prevention (American Veterinary Medical Association)
- Travelers' Health: Zoonotic Exposures -- Bites, Stings, Scratches, and Other Hazards (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Animal bite - first aid - series--Procedure, part 1 (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Venomous snakes - series -- Rattlesnake (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish