Swarms of rodents have been “eating everything they can get their hands on” in a fishing village in Queensland, the locals say
Rats have taken over the fishing village in Queensland in northeastern Australia, climbing on boats, chewing through cars and homes, and devouring crops, according to the reports in the local media. Thousands of dead rodents have also been filmed washed ashore on the beaches in the area.
The endemic long-haired rats have been arriving in Karumba in huge numbers from the south using waterways for “a few weeks” now, local resident Jon Jensen told broadcaster Nine News on Wednesday.
“They come in waves” and “almost seem trained and organized,” he said. “They swim around in the rivers like little puppy dogs, and they’re in numbers.”
The rats are hungry after spending a lot of time in the water, and when they finally get ashore, “they’re eating anything and everything they can get their hands on,” Jensen added.
A Karumba woman named Yvonne Tunney told Guardian Australia earlier this week that “the river was just alive with rats floating around” not so long ago.
The residents of the village of some 500 have been using bait and traps in an attempt to get the infestation under control. They’ve been also helped by predators, including wedge-tailed eagles and the whistling kites, who have been feasting on the rats so that “they can barely get off the ground because they’ve got their guts full,” Jensen said.
However, the number of rodents in Karumba doesn’t appear to be going down, with the man saying that “we’re sort of just learning to live with them.”
The local shorefronts have also been littered with corpses of dead rodents. “They swim out to the sandbanks at low tide, and when the water comes up, they drown, and their bodies are washed back onto the beach,” fishing charter owner Jemma Probert told ABC, adding that she and her workers had to fight off rats trying to get on the boats by climbing the anchor’s chains.
University of Queensland’s associate professor in ecology, Luke Leung, told ABC that the spike in rat population had been caused by record rains earlier this year, which provided the animals lush vegetation to nest in and an abundance of food.
Karumba has become yet another town to be hit with the rat plague, with similar events earlier reported in Winton, Richmond, Julia Creek, and other communities in the region.
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