Australia’s ‘cannibal’ mouse infestation could be followed by a snake plague

Australia's 'cannibal' mouse infestation could be followed by a snake plague

Cheryl Santa MariaMon, May 31, 2021, 12:34 PM

Southeastern Australia has been battling mouse plague for months, following a combination of heavy rain, cooler temperatures, and a high crop yield.

Experts now worry the influx of mice could just be just the beginning of problems for the region, with worries a snake plague is on the way.

Gerard Dallow from a Sydney-based organization called Micropest told nine.com.au that “snakes are likely to follow” the rodents, potentially leading to a spike in their population numbers.

‘CANNIBAL’ MICE

The mice have been more than just a nuisance: farmers have lost thousands of dollars worth of crops and sustained equipment damage from the rodents.

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Earlier this month, the plague left a family of five and their two pets homeless after descending on the home of the Ward family, chewing up the walls and munching on electrical wires on the roof, sparking a large fire that burned their home to the ground.

As the mice multiply in size and deplete food sources, things have taken a gruesome turn. Reports say the rodents have turned on one another, resorting to cannibalism as grains run low.

So far, rodents have “shut down 44 of our telecommunication towers on Monday across the southern half of New South Wales,” Xavier Martin, the vice president of the New South Wales Farmers’ Association, told ITV News.

“They shut down one of our key government servers in one of the departments today so they couldn’t respond. The mice are into everything. If I walk out of the door there now and stand still they’ll climb out the outside of my trousers and inside of my trousers, they’re just running about everywhere.”

THE DANGERS OF SNAKES

While the snakes likely won’t cause structural damage to homes or tear through crops like the mice, southeastern Australia is home to about 100 species of venomous snakes.

red bellied black snake wikipedia
red bellied black snake wikipedia

File photo: A large Red-bellied Black Snake in Awabakal Reserve, Dudley, New South Wales. (Oliver Neuman/Wikipedia CC BY-SA 4.0)

While there has been no documented uptick in snake populations yet, the reptiles tend to be most active in autumn (which runs until May) and spring, which begins in September. (Click to Source)

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