Entire regions of rural Australia that faced biblical-scale bushfires in 2019 and 2020 have now been plunged into a new disaster as massive plagues of mice descend on what was a wildly successful harvest of grain, according to news reports.
The deluge of rodents, described as “an all-consuming plague of mice” by The Guardian, is just the latest of woes to be faced by the people of New South Wales, which has been forced to contend with arid drought conditions, the brushfires, and the novel coronavirus pandemic in recent years.
In striking video circulating online, thousands of the tiny rodents can be seen swarming across a farm in the town of Gilgandra.
“At night… the ground is just moving with thousands and thousands of mice just running around,” farmer Ron Mckay told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, reports Reuters.
The situation has grown so dire that local residents are waking up to tremendous amounts of mouse feces strewn across their homes, including on their pillows.
“You can imagine that every time you open a cupboard, every time you go to your pantry, there are mice present,” said rodent expert Steve Henry.
“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.”
Meanwhile, supermarkets are taking all possible measures to prevent the rodents from eating their food.
Naav Singh, who works at the 5Star supermarket in Gulargambone, north of Dubbo, has been arriving to work five hours early just to deal with the putrid excretions of the pests.
“We don’t want to go inside in the morning sometimes. It stinks, they will die and it’s impossible to find all the bodies … Some nights we are catching over 400 or 500,” he explained.
The massive expansion of the mouse population is largely a result of the successful bumper crops resulting from a recent wet season. However, locals are now facing tremendous losses due to the infestation.
While industry groups are lobbying the government to deploy pesticides, authorities are hopeful that a change in weather such as a cold front or heavy rains could naturally wipe out the mouse plague.
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