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Mice plague makes for a smelly, unending tidal wave of vermin

Once upon a time in Cairns, I got out of bed and went to put my foot in a slipper.

I was just in time to stop myself making contact with the back end of a giant, white-tailed rat the cat had lovingly tucked inside. He had dined on the front end.

I thought my revulsion for rodents could grow no greater. I was wrong.

Over the past two months I have woken daily to find dead mice, dying mice, regurgitated mice.

I have found three blind mice, four legless mice and 87 mice that have been startled to death by our two black cats.

After work, I once removed a mouse from the trap under the sink and reset it. Fifteen mice in the same trap in the same night. The following night – same deal.

I stayed up until midnight just to test how many I could get. I kept a tally on the hall blackboard.

As I write, a cat has just slunk past with a mouse in its mouth, ready to play with it a bit and then let it go to find a new home among my shoes.

When we first moved into this house, I was appalled at the mice fried into the oven circuits and skeletonised in the bathroom walls.

Now, I fear for those who may remodel if we ever move.

Don’t get me wrong, we have had many happy, mouse-less years in this house. The truth is, they are just everywhere.

“Ewww,” a friend texted me this morning. “Twenty-two mice caught at work this morning.”

Another friend has just had a pipe burst in the roof.

Poisoned mice go in search of water before they die, even if they have to chew through a pipe to get it.

And the smell! Holy moly.

Driven by a desperation to do something about an odour in the kitchen, I dismantled the dishwasher door.

Who knew there was so much styrofoam in a dishwasher door? Mice did, apparently.

I could not look behind the dishwasher, because my husband had helpfully solved the mouse freeway under the sink by cementing the hole containing the dishwasher pipes and cord. Simples.

It’s like a smelly, unending tidal wave of vermin. My husband went to feed hay to the cows a while ago.

No deal. Mice had been in the hay and it fell apart like fairy floss.

In some parts of regional NSW, mice have chewed their way through entire crops.

Poisoned grain has halted some frontlines, but has brought with it other problems. Dead pets and wildlife, and the smell of decay in the air.

I don’t know how it will end, but there is a small glimpse of light.

One story – no two stories – of places the mice have mysteriously gone. One can only hope.

Marie Low is a freelance journalist based in regional NSW.

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