What is causing ‘Mice Rain’ in Eastern Australia?

What is the News?

The Government of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia is facing one of the worst mouse plagues. It has affected farmers, community members, and residents. In some affected areas, mice are falling out from rooftops causing “mice rain”.

What is Mice Rain?
  • The mice population in Australia has increased exponentially. These mice are causing extensive damages to the cultivated crop and stored food grains. In some places, mice are falling out from the rooftops. This situation is being referred to as Mice Rain.
How plague is related to mice rain?
  • Plague is a life-threatening infectious disease caused by rod-shaped bacteria called Yersinia pestis.
  • It is found in mammals such as mice. As the mice population is increasing, the spread of the disease is also increasing. This means that the plague is increasing due to Mice rain.

Causes of Plague:

  • Scientists have attributed the plague to an unusually abundant grain harvest earlier in the season. This resulted in a surplus of mice earlier in the season.
  • Further, mice have a short breeding cycle and a pair of breeding mice can give birth to a new litter every twenty-one days. Hence, this has led to an exponential increase in mice in Australia.
Effects of Plague:
  • Rodents such as mice are capable of destroying food grains. They can also cause widespread damage to domestic households, commercial businesses, farms, manufacturers, and livestock.
  • Further, rodents can not only chew materials but can also ruin supplies by excreting them.
  • Rodents can also cause diseases such as leptospirosis and typhus fever. They can also carry fleas or ticks that can harm pets and humans.
Way Forward:
  • Research carried out by the Grains Research and Development Corporation(GRDC) found that increasing zinc phosphide in mouse baits will help in reducing mouse numbers.
  • As a result of this research, the authorities have allowed makers to double the toxicity levels in mouse baits to tackle mice rain.

Source: Indian Express

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