Between their bird-eating spiders, strangling kangaroos, and toilet snakes, Australia has plenty of objectively awful animals to go around. Yet despite the country being festooned with dangerous predators, there’s one prey species that has managed to thrive in these inhospitable environs: terrifying hordes of mice.
As protocol dictates, when the British founded their first Australian colony in 1788, they brought along a plague or two. But this time it wasn’t typhus or cholera, but itty-bitty mice.
Weirdly, the European rodents were able to thrive in the savage wilderness, seeing as how Australian carnivores preferred to take on more worthy prey (i.e. your tender face).
In just one season, a pair of mice can produce up to 500 babies, and every four years or so, those suckers gather together to form rolling plagues of tiny teeth, devouring everything in their path. And we mean everything. They’ll even try to eat pigs and other livestock.
The worst invasion to date occurred in 1993, when the mice destroyed thousands of hectares of crops, rubber, electrical insulation, and even farm vehicles. By the time the plague died out, it had racked up approximately $96 million in damages — and that’s not accounting for all the therapy bills of the farmers left on cleaning duty.
The next plague should occur in 2021. Be ready!
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