A mouse plague has spread across Australia. The rodents would clear food shelves by the hundreds and eat everything they could see – this was reported by the Australian television station «ABC» a few days ago. What sounds like a scene from a horror movie has apparently been going on in the southeast of the country for months.
In the outback towns of Tottenham, Walgett and Gulargambone, three patients are said to have been bitten by the small rodents. An Australian contracted lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), a disease transmitted by mice. The symptoms of the rare affliction initially resemble flu.
Hope for rain
Drought, devastating fires, the corona pandemic and now a mouse invasion – the state of New South Wales with its dazzling metropolis of Sydney has experienced just about every conceivable natural disaster in recent years.
It is not for nothing that the Australian Guardian spoke of a “mouse plague of biblical proportions”. Citizens reported mouse droppings on their pillows and the fact that the whole front yard was moving in the glow of the flashlights. In many places, mousetraps have long been sold out, and the harvest is also threatened by the rodent invasion.
There was only one thing left: to hope for heavy rain, that the mice drown in their den and that the land might be cleansed of the plague. The prayers were answered to a certain extent – but half the region is now under water. Tens of thousands of people had to leave their flooded houses after days of rain and lost everything. Images of the flood have been going around the world for days.
Floods in Australia: A whole house is washed away here(00:37)
Masses of water will probably not stop mice
Photos of cows and kangaroos floating in the water were circulating on the Internet. A debilitated emu was pulled into a boat at the last minute and rescued. Thousands upon thousands of spiders crawled up house walls and fences to save themselves. What about the mice?
Experts doubt that the masses of water can stop the advance of the mice. “It is difficult to predict exactly what the rain will mean for the mouse populations,” says scientist Steve Henry of the research agency CSIRO according to “ABC”.
The burrows of the mice are a highly developed network that could possibly also protect them from heavy rain, the researcher explained. It is possible that many young drown – but whether the number of adult mice will be greatly decimated is unclear. In addition, mice are true “incubators”: every 20 days a female can give birth to up to ten young. It is difficult and expensive to control the animals.
Mouse invasion because of a bumper crop
Background to the plague: After years of drought, rural New South Wales and parts of Queensland have seen record harvests after the last rainy season. The increase in grain and other agricultural products delighted not only the farmers but also the mice.
Initially, their numbers exploded in October in the tropical north. Then the gray animals spread further and further south. “ABC” spoke of the worst plague in decades. The research agency CSIRO estimates that the end of the invasion will not be in sight until July.
Spiders and snakes also flee
The mice aren’t the only animals currently plaguing Australians. Spiders and snakes flee from the water in the inhabited areas, seek shelter on walls and walls. They also penetrate the houses and frighten the residents. (SDA / une)
Published: March 24th, 2021, 4:44 pm
Last updated: 24.03.2021, 5:30 p.m.