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.