It’s a Moving Carpet of… Mice

Willard? Has anyone seen Willard? If you don’t remember, that was a movie about a guy who develops an affinity for rats, and lots of them.

Some people living in rural communities in the Australian state of New South Wales must be wondering if they have a modern-day Willard in their midst, as they are suffering their worst plague of mice in decades after a bumper grain harvest.

Thousands of tiny rodents swarmed around a farm in the town of Gilgandra.

Farmer Ron Mckay said:

“At night… the ground is just moving with thousands and thousands of mice just running around.”

Supermarkets are storing food in sealed containers and at least three patients in the local hospital have been bitten by the mice.

Steve Henry, a rodent expert, said:

“You can imagine that every time you open a cupboard, every time you go to your pantry, there are mice present.  And they’re eating into your food containers, they’re fouling your clean linen in your linen cupboard, they’re running across your bed at night.”

Farmers who made hay bales for the winter expect to lose many to the fast-reproducing rodents. Local media reported that just one pair of mice can produce on average up to 500 offspring in a season.

Intensive baiting programs have so far had little success against the infestation, and locals are hoping for heavy rain to drown the mice in their burrows.

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  1. Leslie Fish

    This has happened before, in the US and Europe, as well as in Australia. It’s caused by *killing off the predators of small rodents* — predators such as snakes, raptor birds, dogs and — yes — cats. It’s been a fashion lately in Australia (and parts of the US) to kill off free-ranging cats whenever possible, and this is the result.

    • Eijebong

      What a lovely term: “free-ranging” cats. It makes one feel warm and cuddly.
      In Australia, they are referred to as ‘feral’ cats which reflects the ‘significant decimation’ of local native birds and animals they cause: “The best ‘feral cat’ is a dead cat.”!
      ‘Domesticated’ cats, when abandoned by their owners and left to survive in the wild, return to their ‘roots’: grow in size and vorsciousness. Homeowners who allow their cats to roam freely ‘at night’ can receive heavy fines by local shires because of the damage these cats cause to local fauna.
      Snakes are a protected species in Australia. So, “No”, they are not indiscriminately killed. Raptors are also protected in Australia.
      This mouse plague is caused by an exceptionally good grain harvest.
      Higher numbers started to be noticed in the North in October last year and have since then been working their way South.
      A cold snap, or heavy rains (drowning them in their burrows) usually takes care of these mouse plagues.
      Bottom line? Your causal ‘theory’ is seriously flawed.

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