Parts of Australia are fighting a rodent “plague”.
Large rural portions of inland New South Wales and Queensland are being invaded by millions of mice, which have taken over farmland, homes, shops, hospitals and cars. They are also eating everything they see.
Reuters reported that the region’s bumper grain harvest led to an increase in rodents.
“You can imagine that every time you open a closet, every time you go to your pantry, there are mice present,” rodent expert Steve Henry told the cable service. “And they’re eating out of your food containers, they’re messing your clean bedding in your clothes closet, they’re running around your bed at night.”
They are also leaving behind disturbing videos and images:
On one farm, mice ate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of hay bales, reducing them to piles of dust in a matter of weeks.
“It’s a real kick in the gut,” Coonamble farmer Rowena Macrae told Queensland Country Life. “It is very difficult to see.”
“They stink alive or dead, sometimes you can’t escape the smell,” Pip Goldsmith of Coonamble, who has trapped thousands of mice, told The Guardian Australia. “It is oppressive, but we are resistant.”
Lisa Gore of Toowoomba told the newspaper that her 12-year-old son caught 183 in one night.
“It’s like his job right now,” he said. “He is very proud of himself.”
Local reports said the mouse population continues to grow and that efforts to poison the rodents had started to backfire when dead creatures turned up in water tanks. A landlord in Elong Elong investigating a water blockage found a “disgusting” smell, according to Australia’s ABC News.
“We always filter the water that comes into our house from the tanks, so for us personally we feel that we have covered our precautions not to notice anything with the taste,” Louise Hennessy told the news agency. “But the smell of the mice on top of the tank was so unpleasant.”
Public health authorities are now warning of the potential for bacteria in the water if the dead mice remain in the tanks.
Authorities said a drop in temperature or heavy rain could kill most of the mice at any time.
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