News / Community / 20th January 2021
Mouse traps in demand
Coonabarabran residents have turned to drastic measures to keep the current mice plague at bay.
As thousands of mice descended on homes across town late last year, mouse traps quickly became sought-after items with supermarkets and suppliers struggling to keep up with demand.
Home owner, George Vincent, said he also fought to keep on top of the problem at first, but had since managed to put a dent in the population.
“I couldn’t get mouse traps in town at all at one stage,” Mr Vincent said.
“Everywhere was sold out.”
Mr Vincent said he never thought he would have to resort to purchasing mouse traps online.
“They were starting to get bad and I had no choice,” he said.
“It felt a little silly ordering mouse traps online, but I couldn’t get them anywhere else.”
When they arrived, Mr Vincent set the traps with a small smear of peanut butter and said the results were impressive.
Between the traps and his cat, Taffy, the dual operation resulted in upwards of 70 mice trapped and killed.
“At first I was catching five, six, seven a night - now it’s only the odd one or two here and there.
“I think we’ve managed to thin them out a bit.”
For Roach’s Home Hardware assistant manager, Tony Cole, the mouse plague is as bad as he’s ever seen.
The 52-year-old has lived in Coonabarabran his entire life and has witnessed minor issues with the rodents in the past, but nothing to the extent of the plague proportions people were now enduring.
Mr Cole said mouse traps and baits were in huge demand in the store.
“We just can’t get traps at the moment,” he said.
“We’ve got a heap on back order, but they are very hard to get at present, as you would expect.”
While Mr Cole said it was difficult to keep up with demand he still had a reasonable level of stock remaining, with the hopes of more traps being delivered in the near future.
In the meantime, he offered some valuable advice to those residents being inundated with the pests.
“Try to cut out any food source,” Mr Cole said.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve got baits out, if there’s dog food or any pet food laying around they will go for that first.
“They wont go for the bait while there is other food around.”
Coonabarabran Rural Supplies’ owner, Bruce Henley was also experiencing a rush for mice removal supplies.
“We can’t keep stock on the shelves at the moment,” Mr Henley said.
“As soon as we get a delivery we have people lining up at the door ready to buy it.”
Mr Henley has heard a range of stories from his customers about their ordeals with the present mouse infestation.
He was told of one farmer who was slashing and mice were jumping over the slasher to the other side to return to shelter.
“There’s a video going around online of a horde of mice crossing the road at Coonamble.”
Mr Henley also advised residents to keep pet and animal food off the floor and seal it up as well as possible.
Danger to pets
With poisonous baiting on the rise, pet owners are reminded to be vigilant during the war on rodents.
Doctor Susan Benton, from Coonabarabran Veterinary Surgery, said there had already been a number of presentations due to poisoning.
Dr Benton said there were two categories of rat baits that affected animals differently.
First generation baits require multiple feedings for enough of the toxin to build up to cause toxic effects and break down more quickly in the body of the rodent, which means less risk of secondary poisoning to pets.
These types include Warfarin-based baits like Ratsack or Coumatetryl in Racumin.
Dr Benton said the second generation baits required a single feed on a bait or a baited rodent to be lethal.
This included baits with Brodifacoum, which is present in most other Ratsack products or Difenacoum.
“There are a lot more active ingredients, so always check the packaging to see if it is advertised as a single feed or multi feed,” Dr Benton warned.
In case of accidental poisoning Dr Benton said to try and make your pet vomit as soon as possible and contact your local vet immediately.
“Rat baits work by inhibiting the coagulation process, meaning the animals are no longer able to clot and can begin to bleed spontaneously,” Dr Benton explained.
“This may present as obvious bleeding or bruising, but may also cause less specific signs such as lethargy, loss of appetite or breathing difficulties.
“These signs will usually start to be seen three to seven days after ingestion and require immediate veterinary attention.
“Fortunately, there is an antidote for rodenticide toxicity and with rapid treatment a full recovery is possible.”
Dr Benton said no bait was truely “pet safe”, even if marketed as such.
The doctor offered further tips for those residents with pets who are considering using baits:
• Use first generation baits;
• Place baits where they cannot be accessed by pets; • Use bait stations – not loose baits;
• Be vigilant in removing dead rodents from where they might be accessed by pets; and
• Regularly check pets for any signs of toxicity.