'We've definitely got a plague': Mice infest Arthur's Pass

Five years after a mouse plague inundated Arthur's Pass, a new infestation has hit the town.

Resident Graeme Kates said yesterday he was using a "gazillion" traps.

A beech tree mast is largely responsible, though the alpine grasses have also seeded. Like last time, mice have been spotted running across the highway.

"We've definitely got a plague," Mr Kates said. He was busy emptying all the bins in town this morning in a bid to curtail it.

"It probably started a month ago."

Mr Kates is catching about 21 mice at home each night night, using traps.

He was hoping fresh snow last night would knock numbers back.

However, he said last time it hit, the plague continued into the following winter.

Prior to the 2014-15 infestation, the town was hit in the mid-1990s. That time it came to an end thanks to flooding.

The last mouse plague led to some supersized trout in some West Coast rivers, as the fish fed on mice.


Nature is out of balance. 1080 has caused this.
Native owl like bird life has been officially accepted as collateral damage. The nocturnal capability and mobility of Morepork / Ruru would help contain a short breeding cycle rodent infestation as it developed.

Currently I am in the Northern part of the West Coast,the rat infestation is horrific and what I have been told and seen they the rats are rampant over most of the upper South Island. Looking on the brighter side though there are very few mice here, apparently this is most likely due to the fact that the rats have eaten them all...

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter