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‘1000 dead rats’: Rodent plague engulfs Queensland towns

Unwelcome intruders have been spotted on picturesque Queensland beaches.

Unwelcome intruders have been spotted on picturesque Queensland beaches. Photo: Instagram/@urbandecamp

Warning: Graphic content below

Wet weather has left coastal Queensland towns drowning under an influx of swimming rats this month.

Locals and tourists keen on a day of fishing or an evening walk along the beach in towns such as Normanton and Karumba have recently been met by waves of rats – dead and alive – washed up on shore.

At least 1000 dead rats are removed from Karumba’s boat ramps every day, AAP reports.

“Well last night was a first. We headed down for our nightly fishing expedition to find the beach littered with washed up rats,” one Facebook user posted earlier this month.

“Some floating in the water, some resting on the shore waiting to dry out and some dead.”

On Tuesday, another Facebook user who had made the trip up to Karumba for some fishing posted a collection of photos depicting a beautiful sunset over the ocean, along with a photo depicting a pile of dead rats.

The rodents aren’t just unsightly – locals say they’re doing some damage as well.

“Mate, there’s rats everywhere,” Normanton resident Derek Lord told AFP news agency.

Locals and tourists alike have had run-ins with rats along Karumba’s shoreline. Photo: TND/Facebook/This is Livin/Christine Dann

“We have hire vehicles and they literally destroyed a car overnight, taking all of the wiring out of the engine bay.”

Carpentaria Shire Mayor Jack Bawden told AAP the problem might just be beginning, with a “moving mass” of rats using both river systems and land to head north towards to the region.

“Someone told me the other day that between Winton and Cloncurry the road looked like it was moving there was so many of them,” he said.

“They will all be coming this way unfortunately.”

Experts told BBC and ABC that wet weather seen throughout the year in the region was to blame for the current critter problem, as it provided plenty of food for breeding pairs.

Queensland’s wet conditions are expected to continue this summer, which could exacerbate the issue.

But there is still hope: Bawden said the rats are starting to eat each other, and heavy rains or floods could help wash the remaining creatures away.

“Nature caused it and nature will clean it up,” he said.

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