Plague of ravenous, destructive mice tormenting Australians

BOGAN GATE, Australia (AP) — At night, the floors of sheds vanish beneath carpets of scampering mice. Ceilings come alive with the sounds of scratching. One family blamed mice chewing electrical wires for their house burning down. Vast tracts of land in Australia’s New South Wales state are being threatened by a mouse plague that the state government describes as “absolutely unprecedented.” Just how many millions of rodents have infested state farmland is guesswork. Bruce Barnes says he is taking a gamble by planting crops on his family farm. The risk is that the mice will survive the Southern Hemisphere winter and devour wheat, barley and canola before the crops can be harvested. “We just sow and hope,” he says.