A French teenage girl is in critical condition after she was reportedly attacked by a horde of rats that gnawed off her fingertips and left more than 200 wounds on her body last Friday night.
The 14-year-old, identified only as Samantha by media outlets, is a paraplegic who lives with her family in Roubaix, France, near the Belgian border, according to AFP. Her father told local media outlets that she slept in a medical bed on the first floor of the family’s home while everyone else slept upstairs. On Saturday, her father found Samantha in a “pool of blood,” according to the Telegraph.
“There was blood coming from her ears — I was terrified that she might have had a brain hemorrhage,” her father is quoted as saying, per the Independent. He added that she was “drenched in blood.”
The father was also quoted as saying he thought his daughter may have been the victim of a robbery gone wrong.
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The girl was transported to a local hospital, where doctors identified 45 wounds on her face, 30 on her feet and 150 on her hands, per BBC News. Tests for rabies came back negative, the father says, but some of Samantha’s fingertips were chewed off so badly that surgeons will not be able to repair them.
The family has since been moved from its home and police are investigating to see whether conditions in the house are “contrary to human dignity,” per AFP. According to local media reports, the girl’s father had previously complained to police about overflowing trash bins near the house.
Rats rarely attack human beings unprovoked, experts say, but it has been known to happen, especially while victims, often babies, are sleeping and defenseless. Experts say this happens when rats are attracted by the smell of food remnants on the person.
In 2007, a baby in Kansas City, Missouri, was attacked by a rat, which chewed off the 4-week-old’s nose and part of her upper lip, per the Associated Press. According to 2015 data from the American Housing Survey, more than 10 percent of all households in Kansas City, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Washington D.C. and Milwaukee all reported seeing rats or mice in their home.