Click to use the Talking Dictionary 34. We Bite, and We Are Bitten


34. Have you ever been bitten? Of course you have. We are all surrounded by creatures that might, or do, bite. (Such creatures include angry humans!) Day or night, you might be a victim. Even as you dream peacefully with your head on your pillow, bedbugs might be nibbling away at you. During the day, they relax inside pillows and mattresses, waiting for your evening arrival so they can enjoy their nocturnal bedtime snack—which is you! But bedbugs don't kill people. An insect that does kill people is the mosquito, the deadliest insect in the world. Its malarial bite kills a couple of million people every year. Other insects, like bees and wasps, kill about 60 people in the United States every year.

Walk outside and you are a target for "man's best friend." Dogs bite about four million Americans every year. About 100 dog‐bite victims visit U.S. emergency rooms every day. Many bites are terrible. A vicious attack on a young woman in France led to the first face transplant. To avoid the dogs near or on the sidewalks in your neighborhood, you might want to hike into the desert or the woods. There, you run the risk of bites from rattlesnakes, scorpions, and blood‐sucking ticks. Not to mention the occasional bear, wolf, or mountain lion.

Safely back at home, watch where you go in your house or garage. Shy but deadly, the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider make themselves comfortable in quiet areas of your closets or garage. One bite from either of them can make you very sick; about six Americans die every year from such bites.

Another bite to worry about is a rabid animal bite. Any warm‐blooded animal can get infected with rabies. Rabies is a virus, like Ebola, but more of a killer than Ebola. Rabies kills about 50,000 people worldwide annually. In the U.S., about 20,000 people get treated for rabies annually, but only one or two persons die. Many people get rabies from their cats, which in turn got rabies from a wild animal. Make sure you take your pets to the vet to get rabies vaccinations. Those shots will save their lives—and maybe yours!

And the next time you take a bite out of something, like a crisp, juicy Fuji apple, remember that something, somewhere, sometime is waiting to take a bite out of you! 6.8, 402


34. Copyright © Mike Carlson. All rights reserved.