Murder hornets, sex-crazed zombie cicadas — and now pyromaniac cannibal mice.
Millions of mice in the biggest plague in Australia for decades are starting to eat each other — and even burn down houses, according to reports.
“When they run out of food, when they run out of seeds to eat, they start cannibalizing, they start eating each other,” Xavier Martin, the vice president of the New South Wales Farmers’ Association, told ITV News.
“They’re pretty disgusting animals,” he said of the millions of rodents caught running rampant in stomach-churning videos.
The plague is worst in New South Wales, but has also spread to parts of Victoria and Queensland, wreaking havoc as they swarm schools, homes and hospitals and leave a pungent odor, according to Bloomberg.
They could reach Sydney in a matter of weeks, riding on freight trucks and food crates, experts have warned.
“The mice are into everything,” Martin told ITV. “If I walk out of the door there now and stand still they’ll climb out the outside of my trousers and inside of my trousers, they’re just running about everywhere.
“They’ve taken over a lot of our homes, our sheds, our vehicles, our tractors,” he told ITV.
“We’ve had machinery burn. We had a house burn just north of us last night that was apparently due to mice.”
One NSW homeowner, mom of three Rebekah Ward, told Australia’s “Today” show that her family lost their home in a blaze sparked by mice eating through electrical wires.
“I had the local police officer, a few of the locals say, that mice were just jumping from the roof,” she said. “Around the house … there’s dead, burnt mice,” she said.
The disaster capped the “nightmare” that the mice had already put her family through, Ward said.
“They crawl over the kids at night. They are in our shoes, they are on our benches, they are everywhere,” she said, saying they will even “bite you on the back.”
A 70-year-old hotel owner, Trevor Hardie, told Australia’s Daily Telegraph that he was left fighting for life after catching leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that is found in the rodents’ urine.
“I couldn’t walk, I’d sweat all night, my kidneys and liver packed it in … it was the sickest I’d ever felt in my life, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” he told the outlet.
“All it takes is to have [mice] scurrying around in a shed, grain silo, or a home, they pee everywhere and you touch it somehow… it knocked me off my feet for weeks,” he said.
New South Wales state in May offered farmers free bait to deal with the problem. But the size of the outbreak has led to calls on the government to allow the use of bromadiolone, a toxic poison currently banned in Australia.