Rat plague spreads to Australia’s fishing towns

A rat as long as an a man's palm
Image caption,With more wet weather likely for Queensland, some people believe the worst is yet to come

By Kelly Ng

BBC News

Thousands of rats – dead and alive – have swept up on beaches in Queensland Australia, overwhelming residents.

Parts of the state have been battling a rat and mouse plague for months now.

A surge in the native rodent population has forced the rats to move coastwards in their search for more food, but many do not survive the trip, according to experts quoted in local media.

“Mate, there’s rats everywhere,” Derek Lord, a resident from the town of Normanton, told AFP news agency.

“We have hire vehicles and they literally destroyed a car overnight, taking all of the wiring out of the engine bay,” said Mr Lord, 49.

He added that his pet ducks had been “going mad” as rats broke into their cages.

The rats have also infested the neighbouring town of Karumba in the past few weeks and some residents worry they will have an adverse effect on tourism in the area, Australian media reported. Karumba is well-known as a fishing and birdwatching paradise.

Warning: Some readers may find the following image and details disturbing.

One video posted on social media shows heaps of dead rats piled up by the water, while flies and other insects swarm around them. Another clip shows a large number of them floating in the river.

Thousands of dead rats have overrun the beaches in Australian's north
Image caption,Thousands of dead rats have overrun the beaches in Australian’s north

The surge in the rat population has been caused by a combination of ideal wet weather conditions for breeding and a bountiful harvest.

With more wet weather expected for Queensland, some people believe the worst is as yet to come.

Parts of Queensland and New South Wales – a south-eastern Australian state – have been experiencing a boom in rodent numbers, Australia’s national science agency said in a 2021 article.

Mouse populations have reached plague conditions not seen since 2011, it said.

“We’ve heard there are still more that are coming,” http://repositoryku.com/ Jemma Probert, a fishing charter owner in Karumba, told AFP.

“It’s not a good thing to leave Karumba remembering,” she said.

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