A stomach-turning bellyful: Australia's bulging mouse plague has gotten fishy
Dubbo, Australia - Parts of Australia have been hit with an out-of-control rodent problem, and it's gotten quite fishy down under!
Due to abundant rainfall after years of drought in Australia, an unimaginable mouse plague has hit the country at an overwhelming rate.
As mice have started to multiply in New South Wales, farmers have suffered massive crop losses and home damage, with fields being completely overrun by the critters.
After the massive rains, local fisherman Aaron Graham was relieved when he saw that the water level of the Macquarie River in Dubbo had finally risen again.
But when he spotted an unusually bloated cod, and later discovered why, his belly was almost as upset as the fish's.
Inside the cod's stomach were as many as ten mice!
The swimmers are increasingly feeding on rodents as the situation gets more out of hand.
Now, "about 90% of the fish I’m pulling up have mice in them," Graham said, noting that they can't help themselves with the abundant food running around.
"They swallow them whole so it’s like they’re slowly dissolving… it’s like a musty smell, they just start falling apart, but you can see the hair and the tails on the feet and it’s not the prettiest," the bait shop manager told The Guardian.
Although he's an avid fisherman, Graham surprisingly does not eat fish. Perhaps his newest river findings have contributed to his decision.
He said the overflow of fat fish often becomes a problem when the animals are caught, because they start to vomit.
Cod vomits several remains of mice
The government plans to release rat posion on a large-scale
As disgusting as the whole thing may be, it clearly shows the extent of the mice plague that still afflicts parts of the Australian continent.
The government has scrambled to come up with a plan to fight against the issue - which includes financial support packages for farmers and biocontrol testing which would genetically alter mice and their reproduction rates.
But the main plan of attack is to release rat poison, bromadiolone, into the environment. The chemical is currently banned because of its toxic risk to the population, but officials hope to get emergency approval.
The long-lasting effects could be extremely damaging on other animals in the eco-system, including the cod population.
As it stands, rodents as food do not pose a threat to fish – unless they eat too many, as is happening now.
If they were to ingest a mouse infected with poison, they too would suffer, and die out at alarming rates.
The vicious cycle continues to burgeon Down Under.
Cover photo: Collage: Screenshot/Twitter/LucyThack