Why did it rain rats in Australia?

International Jun 19, 2021

While the whole world is battling this pandemic phase we've got another miserable scenario in Australia where nature is wreaking havoc, adding up to pre-existing woes of the country. The issue is about plague caused by increased mice population.

Residents said - " It's literally raining mice from rooftops ".

Lately, several videos have gone viral on social media depicting the voracious nature of mice that has completely ravaged Australia and New South Wales(NSW).

Government has declared a war against the tail army.

But,

Where did it all begin ?

To understand it better we need to rewind back to the year 2020, a year which has given painful memories to the population worldwide, but it was fruitful for Australian farmers. In 2020 it rained more than the past two years combined in the country, this made soil fertile and there was bumper harvest.

But nature sometimes delivers a gift with a sting in its tail.

Amidst all the happy harvesting no one thought of mice misery, as huge rainfall and surplus grain made conditions favourable for their rapid breeding. They initiated their rampage by first attacking and infesting the harvest, the wheat, barley and other fodder crops. They went on to contaminate hotels, restaurants, food-marts, bakeries.

Local farmers said -

"At night, the ground seems to be moving with thousands of mice just running around".

But all this proved to be a warm up for an upcoming cross country race.

Two months later the mice plague went to the next level, breaching borders and contaminating thousands of kilometers from Adelaide to Brisbane via Sydney covering a maximum part of New South Wales(NSW). The mice were found chewing crops, electric wires, disturbing the functioning of machines and instruments, entering hospitals, biting patients, raising a risk of new zoonotic and rodent-borne-disease. They also spread a very bad ,foul and rotten egg-like smell making citizens vulnerable to respiratory diseases , nausea, vomiting and overall health deterioration.

To tackle the alarming situation Australian government announced a Mouse Play Package worth $ 50 million. It will be used to bait and poison the mice army. People are sealing doors and patching holes of homes by using steel wool, rubber and chemicals.

The government ought to roll up its sleeves to make this mission aggressive, but this isn't the first time Australia is facing a situation like this, the country has been terrorized by mice back in 80s 90s and in 2011.

What makes the situation more tricky this time ?

1) The ongoing pandemic has severely affected economic and political growth in the country, thus bringing up the challenge of multitasking by distributing resources to tackle both pandemic and plague.

2) The Australian bushfires that occurred last year disturbed the food chain as there was a sudden decline in the no. of eagles, owls, vultures and snake species which used to control mice population.

To tackle this the NSW government has decided to import the Bromadiolone poison from India (which is banned in Australia) to eradicate mice population but permission is yet to be granted by the government.

Environmentalists believe that the use of Bromadiolone on a large scale will obliterate mice but it'll poison other animal species which may hurt the farmers in the long term. Bromadiolone can also affect humans by biomagnification.

The upcoming winter and cold temperatures might prove helpful to eradicate the mice gradually.

This article has been written by Kartik Bajare for The Paradigm

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