Monday, June 28, 2021

Worsening Mouse Plague Ravages Rural Australia

Worsening mouse plague ravages rural Australia

Thousands of house mice have been sweeping across rural communities in New South Wales (NSW), Australia since March, destroying crops and terrorizing residents. Many spine-chilling videos that circulated online showed that the rodents were invading homes and entering barns, eating anything and everything.

The plague is a blow to farmers in NSW, some of whom have lost entire harvests and hay bales practically overnight. Many farmers have resorted to burning their own crops in a desperate bid to escape the plague. Some farmers have also made their own traps in light of trap shortages in stores.

Colin Tink, a 63-year-old farmer from eastern Australia, said he’s never seen such a plague in all his years farming nor a drought like the one that preceded the plague, which turned fertile lands into dust bowls.

That’s why when the rains finally ended the drought last year, Tink thought his fortunes were changing.

The rains led to an unusually productive harvest from September to March. Farmers filled their silos with grains and their barns with hay. Tink himself grew enough hay to feed his cattle for two years.

Unfortunately, the productive harvest only set the stage for one of the country’s worst infestations to date. Thousands of mice burrowed deep into hay bales for food and shelter. What the mice don’t eat gets ruined anyway because their urine trickles through the hay, causing barns to stink.

Henry calls the mice “breeding machines” because of how fast they reproduce in a season. A single pair of breeding mice, which start breeding at the age of six weeks, can produce over 500 offspring in a season.


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