Swarms of mice are infesting rural towns in Australia after its bumper grain harvest and destroying crops as the country continues to battle its out-of-control rodent plague.
Warning: graphic images may disturb some readers
Residents in New South Wales and southern Queensland have seen an explosion of mice in recent months with the rodents invading homes, fields and grain silos and some residents spotting the rodents in their water supplies.
Experts claim the plague is due to the recent heavy summer rains across eastern Australia which hit the country earlier after years of drought.
The shocking scenes come after three hospital patients were bitten by the creatures at facilities in Tottenham, Walgett and Gulargambone, NSW Health confirmed.
The current mouse infestation across western NSW is a natural occurrence,’ a spokeswoman said.
‘NSW Health staff are responding with appropriate control measures.’
NSW Western Area Health Service has also reported a case of leptospirosis – a rare disease which can cause kidney failure and meningitis – as a result of mice in domestic dwellings.
The mice plague is not just affecting residents’ health, but their livelihoods and NSW Farmers is now seeking urgent action from the government as the mice plague continues to decimate crops and destroy stored hay.
President James Jackson said grain growers hold grave concerns about the winter crop planting season, which is due to start within weeks.
‘Farmers need some more control options. We are requesting that an Emergency Use Permit be issued for Zinc Phosphide to treat seed,’ Mr Jackson said on Wednesday.
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.