Imagine waking up to the sounds of tiny pitter-patters running around your house. It might be less annoying when they're your children, but when its thousands of mice—it's not so pleasant, is it? Unfortunately, this has been the sad reality of hundreds of people in several parts of Australia.
Living amongst mice
Millions of mice have been claiming control over local farms, homes, and businesses. They’ve been eating and damaging crops, biting hospital patients, infesting homes and devastating local farmers. Despite the efforts made to catch and kill the mice, they’ve been able to multiply to unfathomable numbers.
This is not the first mouse plague that has threatened rural Australia and it won’t be the last either. However, farmers say that this has been one of the worst so far. Norman Moeris tells BBC:
This one is probably the worst mouse plague I’ve ever been through. I’ve been through three others over the years.
Hay in the hay shed, where there’s probably $50,000 or $60,000 ruined. Grains stored in big plastic bags, they’ve eaten them and ruined them. Everywhere they can go, they’ll go.
John Southon, principal at the Trundle Central school in New South Wales says:
Nobody understands a mouse plague until you’ve lived through it. Nobody understands the absolutely pungent smell, the fact that your furniture is eaten, it’s just horrendous. The mice have eaten all the insulation in our air conditioning systems. They’ve eaten wires out of the roof of the school, they’ve eaten parts of the power board in the principal’s residence.
Perfect breeding conditions
After the drought, conditions drastically improved in the area. There was food, moisture, and fewer predators on the loose. Experts believe that this is the reason mice were able to breed, multiply, and thrive. Martin Murray, farmer and agronomist, explains:
We’ve come out of a drought and because things have gotten so good so quickly, rapid breeders like mice are really able to capitalise on that situation. And it’s going to take a while for the rest of the ecosystem to catch up and balance it out.