Mice population explodes in Queensland’s North Burnett thanks to ‘perfect conditions’

Home Science Mice population explodes in Queensland’s North Burnett thanks to ‘perfect conditions’
Mice population explodes in Queensland’s North Burnett thanks to ‘perfect conditions’

A mouse problem has reached plague proportions in Queensland’s North Burnett, with residents reportedly being bitten in their sleep and produce stores being overrun by thousands of rodents every night.

Susie Capewell, who lives on a property just outside Gayndah, said she had caught close to 1,000 mice in the past two weeks.

“Every time you sit in the lounge, snap, the trap goes off and you got to get up and go and empty it,” she said.

“We mostly get them at night times … the more traps you have, the more you get.”

Gayndah veterinarian Nathan Hitchcock said the plague stretched from Monto to Biggenden.

“I see mice running across the roads at night … and in the last few days I’ve seen them in the daytime as well which is very unusual. They’re just everywhere.”

A hand holding a cage of trapped mice.
Veterinarian Nathan Hitchcock has been catching thousands of mice on his property each week.(Supplied: Nathan Hitchcock)

Mrs Capewell said locals were becoming increasingly frustrated as mice made their way into homes.

“I have spoken to a couple of people in town, one person who got bitten in his bed on his hand, they were chewing on his hand,” she said. 

Feed destroyed by mice

Gayndah’s Norco Rural Stores owner, Brett Jordan, said the problem had been going on for several months but rodent numbers had increased in recent days.

“They normally disappear with rain, but they’ve gotten worse,” he said.

“We’re losing stock every night, there’s just thousands of them.

“We’re not going to order any more feed in because we’re just losing it as quick as we get it in.”

Mr Jordan said growers who usually planted oats at this time of year were holding off because they were worried the mice would eat the oat seeds before the crops came up.

He said the store was struggling to keep up with sales of traps and bait.

“We’re selling rat baits by the pallet load,” he said.


Perfect conditions for mice

Dr Hitchcock said the mild winter last year coupled with a wet summer had resulted in a lot of grass growth and perfect conditions for a mouse plague.

“The grass does two things — it provides the mice with cover, which is protection from predators. And it also provides them with this enormous food source,” he said. 

Mr Jordan said locals had approached the North Burnett Regional Council for assistance.

“Everyone keeps saying to the council to do something, can they do a baiting program. But there there’s been no answers yet,” he said.

The North Burnett Regional Council has been contacted for comment.

Mice drowned in water in a plastic tub.
Gayndah residents are resorting to homemade traps to try and combat the mouse plague.(Supplied: Facebook)

Dr Hitchcock has also warned pet owners about safe use of baiting, after a spike in dogs and cats recently being killed.

“If you think your dog’s eaten mouse bait, get it to the vet sooner rather than later,” he said.

Symptoms of rat bait poisoning include bleeding gums, lethargy and vomiting blood.

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Mice plague spreads across the North Burnett(Supplied: Kellie Millington)

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