Let’s just go through the catalogue of ways to die in Australia:
- dingoes which eat babies
- brown snakes
- funnel-web spiders
- saltwater crocodiles
- Sydney traffic
- unchecked, uncontrollable bush fires
- box jellyfish
- blue-ringed octopus
- its cousin, the blue-lined octopus
- Australian paralysis tick
- and so many more
Now we can add mouse plagues to this list:
At night, the floors of sheds vanish beneath carpets of scampering mice. Ceilings come alive with the sounds of scratching. One family blamed mice chewing electrical wires for their house burning down.
Vast tracts of land in Australia’s New South Wales state are being threatened by a mouse plague that the state government describes as “absolutely unprecedented.” Just how many millions of rodents have infested the agricultural plains across the state is guesswork.
The plague is a cruel blow to farmers in Australia´s most populous state who have been battered by fires, floods and pandemic disruptions in recent years, only to face the new scourge of the introduced house mouse.
And of course, plagues of mice sometimes result in follow-up plagues of… you guessed it, snakes, which treat this as some kind of Roman orgy of gluttony, and not only gorge themselves but create still more snakes to take advantage of the bounty.
Predictably, this mouse plague is being met with customary Aussie ingenuity and just as predictably, activities like this are being greeted with horror by the Usual Suspects (almost all of whom, of course, live in areas untouched by the mouse plague):
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Tuesday pleaded with farmers not to kill ‘curious animals’ that are ‘just looking for food to survive’.
‘They shouldn’t be robbed of that right because of the dangerous notion of human supremacy,’ PETA spokeswoman Aleesha Naxakis said.
“Human supremacy”, eh? We should also drop this bunch of rodents into drowning pits and fire barrels.
As a lad, I used to enjoy hunting for mice in the fields nearby our house, armed with my trusty Diana air rifle, but I think my best day only yielded a dozen or so. This Oz thing is something else altogether.