A rodent plague terrorising the Australian outback is showing no signs of slowing down, with a Coonamble farmer sharing skin-crawling footage of an infestation at her property.
A wet summer has provided an enormous supply of food for the rodents, who are taking over country towns in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
Anne Cullen, a farmer in the central-western plains town of Coonamble, sent a video to 2GB of mice running rampant inside and outside her house and barn.
“Oh, it’s terrible absolutely terrible,” she told 2GB on Tuesday.
“I went away for a couple of nights to Dubbo … when I came back on one evening, I nearly burst into tears.
“There were mice running all over my veranda, all over my bed and all over the lounge room floor. I had one run across my back and in my hair.”
Mrs Cullen has been forced to sleep in one of her adult children’s vacant bedrooms.
“I can’t sleep here (in her own room) but you can’t sleep in the car because they were in the car, too,” she said.
“I found my (daughter‘s) bedroom to have the least mouse poo and it was the most sealed-off room, so I’ve been sleeping in there.”
Mrs Cullen detailed the lengths she had to go to just to minimise the breeding, because exterminating them was not yet a possibility.
“I’ve managed to get on top it in the house, sealing up holes with steel wool and I’ve been baiting under the house but the stench now is putrid,” Mrs Cullen said.
“I have to bait every second night under the house. But over at the shed, I’m beginning to wonder (if it is worth it).
“I put out about $350 worth of bait each day at about 7.30pm. You see thousands of dead ones. But you go back out (to the shed) at 9pm and you wonder, Have I even made a dent in this?”
The mice have ruined Mrs Cullen’s hay supplies. Mice start breeding at six weeks of age and have a litter of pups every 19 to 20 days.
They can have up to 10 pups per litter, allowing them to breed wildly. Experts said a cold snap or heavy rain were the only ways to end a rural rodent plague.