Intended for healthcare professionals


Do animals bite more during a full moon? Retrospective observational analysis

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 23 December 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1559

The conclusion is unfounded

In the Discussion you say "In our study we showed that an association
exists between the lunar cycles and changes in animal behaviour and that
animals' propensity to bite humans accelerates sharply at the time of a
full moon", but I see nothing in the article to support this statement.

You have measured the frequency of bites, but not the circumstances.
You could equally draw the (unsupported) conclusion that "the propensity
of humans to provoke animals to biting accelerates sharply at the time of
a full moon".

You have shown a probable relationship between animal bites and the
lunar cycle, in one environment, without circumstances. Therefore, the
conclusion that "the propensity to bite" is increased is unsupported in
the article, which does not measure "propensity", only frequency.

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 November 2001
David Waroff