City Overwhelmed By Horrifying Rat Plague

Thousands of rats have taken up residence in the Australian seaside town of Karumba, causing an epidemic comparable to the plague. The rats have been swimming out to sea, only to perish when they return to land, resulting in heaps of dead rodents. A biologist named Emma Gray was among the first to see symptoms of the approaching epidemic. Australia’s native long-haired rats seek refuge from barn owls, letter-winged kites, and feral cats in the crevices of clay soil, where they inhabit dry and semiarid environments.

The long-haired rat population has an explosion every three to seventeen years; the most recent was in 2011, after two years of heavier-than-average rainfall. Some Karumba locals are concerned that the rodent problem could hurt the rats also, and it’s clear that the rats have outstayed their welcome.

A plentiful crop and the perfect breeding weather have led to a dramatic increase in the rat population. Some believe Queensland is still in for a rough patch due to the increased likelihood of rain. A plague-like rise in rodent populations has been seen in some regions of New South Wales and Queensland, with rodent populations reaching levels not seen since 2011.

This super-spreader situation in Karumba and other Queensland cities is caused by female long-haired rats, which may have a litter of 12 offspring every three weeks under ideal circumstances. Rats had enough food and shelter because of the abundant foliage that grew in the area after the heavy rains of the previous rainy season. In addition to wreaking havoc on land crops and automobiles, rats invade fishing boats, endangering the costly electronics professional fishermen use.

While a lot is happening in Karumba, Mayor Jack Bawden remains pessimistic, saying that more is coming from southern and western Queensland. He thinks they may just need to be patient.