Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 00:03
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Hi All- Could someone tell me if there is a mice plague in the outback or somewhere out there -sand, heat, floods I've heard about but haven't heard much about mice - what do you do when in a tent with so many mice around??? My kids are going to freak!!! Any suggestions - thought the cold nights might keep them at bay??? Do they eat through tents? And do they get into trailers?? Haven't really paid this much attention to the critters before but I am astounded at the conversations on this topic... I have to pay attention... we are leaving in two weeks....
Thanks for any suggestions... Rose
(I know I sound pretty pathetic (: )
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 03:34

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 03:34
Take a mouse trap or two, maybe three and just keep emptying them :-))

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Reply By: Member - DW Lennox Head(NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 04:21

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 04:21

If you are going in those mouse areas, do what the locals do. Learn to live with the problem. They do get into everything.

For example, store food in tins and not plastic containers. Store unused items away in metal containers and clean up when you finish. In other words, store it all in mouse proof containers.

I have lived through numerous mouse plagues when I had farms in central northern NSW. Another thing to do is lift the vehicle bonnet overnight so the engine cools off and is not a temporary home for the rodents.

Just think of the people who have to live with this problem every day. They can not get away from the problem, so harden up princess and enjoy the trip otherwise do not even go and then whinge.

Have fun

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Follow Up By: Rose B - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 09:05

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 09:05
Good Morning DW - Thanks for the harden up princess - I do plan to enjoy the trip -mice or no mice but just want to be prepared as I know my kids will be pretty freaked out... especially the 17 year old daughter!!!!

What difference do tins make compared to plastic containers - do mice bite through plastic??
Also do they still get in your tent if it is all zipped up??

I do sympathise with those that have to live with this problem. Three cheers for our farmers they have it tough.

Anyway thanks for the advise.... don't think I'll tell the kids before we go though....

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Follow Up By: jothefw - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 10:13

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 10:13

You're doing the right thing and being prepared but don't freak out too much. Once you've experienced it for a couple of days it's amazing how quickly you become used to it!

In answer to mice eating through stuff - here (Upper South East SA) they're eating through my bricks, concrete - you name it! Wire wool is my friend (they don't like chewing through metal).
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Reply By: Skippype - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 07:51

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 07:51
I got 32 last night and would have got heaps more if I had put more water in the bucket. They were falling in but able to jump out as the drowned ones had piled up to where they were just at the water level.
This is in the Cooper Basin.
We are camped be a dry creek and seem to get more than if we were camped on the open plain.
As someone said "Learn to live with the problem. They do get into everything."
They are just annoying and we work around them....
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 08:02

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 08:02
Hi Rose

Yes they are still out there in their millions. I was speaking with my friend at Etadunna Station on the Birdsville Track mid last week and he said that they are in the millions and the outside just smells very bad from them all. Being a old stone building, they have lots in the homestead as well.

Further north, my sister lives in Alice Springs and like you do up there this time of the year, they headed down for their usual camping spot to watch the Finke Desert Race. The mice were that bad, they had to sleep on the back of the ute in their swags.

They have had some cool nights out there and it should be taking its toll soon one hopes.

Have a great trip.


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Follow Up By: Rose B - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 09:08

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 09:08
Hi Stephen - what do you mean the mice were that bad they had to sleep in the back of the ute in their swags - how does that work with tenting!!!!

Is there a trick to luring them away from your camp site???

Sound so niave but hey this is our first outback trip so have to learn sometime I suppose...

Thanks for the feedback...
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 14:35

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 14:35
Hi Rose

The reason why my sister ended up on the back of the ute was for the only reason that she dreaded the thought of finding a mouse inside her swag. People still used tents and I have not heard any problems of them chewing a hole to get inside of a tent, but then again there will always be a first.

The most important thing is to have no food what so ever inside the tent. Mice have a very good sense of smell and if they can smell food inside your tent, then there could be a very good chance that you could end up with a hole in your tent.

We use plastic tubs to keep our food in and keep them in the car. On another more important factor is keeping warm, while sleeping and first thing in the morning and at night...

Take good quality warm clothing for those cold starts and make sure that it is either cotton or wool, no synthetic, or else the first spark from the camp fire and you will have a hole on that good synthetic jacket. When it come to sleeping, make sure that you have a good quality well below zero rated sleeping bag. Ours are rated at -7C and we are always as snug as a bug in a rug...LOL Get cold at night sleeping and you will have the worst time and it will put you off of camping for life.

Camping is a completely different way of life and it will be a case of either you love or hate it. It is impossible to get things right the first time camping, as you will always seem to find ways of improving on what you have, and this can take years.

The questions that you have asked are not naive and as they say, if you do not ask, them you will never know. Some people love their Motel rooms, but for me give me a piece of red dirt and a camp fire any day.

Go prepared for cold nights and mornings and you will have a great time and you will want to get back into the outback again. Don't worry about the mice, keep you tent zipped up at all times and have a fantastic trip.


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Follow Up By: Rose B - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 14:49

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 14:49
Thanks for that very encouraging comment Stephen - you even make the mice sound like they are not to be worried about - (not sure about that one)

take the hint on the food - will be packing it all in plastic tubs so will keep them in the car and definitely NO food in the tent. What about scraps around the tent is it really important to clean up really well??

We have -8C sleeping bags so hopefully snug as a bug in a rug is the go!!! We have synthetic jackets etc but they are on the cheap side so doesn't matter if they get a bit holey!!

I bought self inflating airbeds so that hopefully we will have a very good nights sleep. I figured if you sleep (hopefully no sounds of mice) well then every thing else falls into place.

Looking forward to early nights and early mornings..... and very very fresh country air!!!

Thanks again - Rose
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 19:33

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 19:33
Hi Rose

In reply to the scraps, it is most important that any food scraps be thrown into the fire and keep your camping site clear of all rubbish. Any scraps will attract the mice for a free feed.

One piece of equipment that we take to help clear the site before putting down the ground sheet is a plastic garden rake. The first thing that we do when we find a site is to give the area a quick rake over to remove and small stones, sticks, prickles and humps of grass.

If you have any spare room, a couple of woollen blankets can be very handy.

As for early nights, I only wish. Even travelling by ourselves, the nightly fires are always hard to leave and most nights it is usually well after 10.30pm before we call it a day. We are always up before daybreak and to see the rising sun is always the best time of the day. I always have a small pile of kindling wood set aside for the next morning, so it is usually a case of out with the long handle shovel, sake a small hole in the coals, put on the small kindling wood and you soon have another fire going again.

There have been many of times when we have been out in swag and the temperature is well below zero, and the coldest that we have ever had is minus 5.5 C. Yes it was cool, but standing by the fire make it very comfortable. The image below was when we were camped last year west of Menzies in WA. It was minus three when I took this image and without the fire it would have been very cold indeed.

Image Could Not Be Found

The old scout motto of "Be Prepared" is so very true and you should have a great time.


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Follow Up By: Rose B - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 21:39

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 21:39
Great advice Stephen - have learnt so much from everyone on this post - Camp fire sounds like a must - plastic tubs, warm sleeping bags, rake, shovel, woollen blankets, ground sheet, kindling - check on all of them... it is quite daunting but oh so exciting at the same time... can't wait to hit the road...although I think we are going to be taking so much stuff what with the cold weather and all. Will definitely "Be prepared"...

Great photo - noticed your small table - now that's a good idea for cuppas and food by the fire!!!! Probably a little civilized but won't take up much space in the trailer!!!

Cheers Rose
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 12:01

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 12:01
It's an entirely fair query Rose - I too haven't experienced a mouse plague - and forums are for getting tips from those in the know. We were planning to put her ladyship's cat into the RSPCA for our upcoming outback trip through the same region - the' black and white barrel' might be coming with us :-o).
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Reply By: deptford- Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 16:35

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 16:35
Yes the mouse plague is still on.
AnswerID: 457414

Reply By: Member - Heather MG NSW - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 21:54

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 21:54
Hi Rose,

We have travelled through western NSW and now in SA, soon to be in the NT.
Left home a fortnight ago.

The worst places so far for mice have been Willandra Station near Hillston in NSW and Willam Creek in SA. My husband rigged up a trap there (William Creek) using a plastic bottle with the base cut off attached to a tree branch, and suspended it at an angle over a bucket of water. He used a tiny smear of peanut butter to lure them inside the bottle neck and they slid down the bottle into the water.
There were 41 drowned little bodies in the bucket on Sunday morning. He was up at 7am just to check his tally...I didnt realise he even knew 7am Sunday existed before then! lol

We are in a caravan and so far haven't had any inside. I make sure we leave all the sink plugs in place if we have the sullage hose connected, also all food is in plastic crates.

Happy travelling,


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Follow Up By: Rose B - Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 23:33

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2011 at 23:33
Oh great we are passing through William Creek - perhaps we won't stop!! That contraption sounds like something my boys would rig up... At least they will probably have some fun with all this....

We are in a tent so have learnt by all the posts to not have ANY food inside the tent - keep the food stored in plastic containers in the car before going to bed and make sure all the food around the camp fire is all cleaned up and thrown on the hot coals. I suppose we have to make sure that the tent is always zipped up.... will make for very interesting camping I'm sure....

Thanks so much for the info... perhaps the pied piper might show up and lead them all to the deep end of Lake Eyre!!!

Cheers Rose
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Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 at 00:14

Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 at 00:14
Rose, make sure the tent is zipped up LOL, we were camped at Claytons Bore back in November last year, there was thunderstorms around and the insects were so thick we had putt all the lights out except my head light, (I was washing up the dishes) it was just on dusk when, out the corner of my eye I saw a flash go into the tent, I thought it was a leaf that had blown in there but then I heard a lot of running around and helter skelter, on closer inspection I found this poor little mouse running hell for leather around the edge of the tent trying to get out, Hubby finished up flicking it out and he ran away, the only one we saw that night but he was obviously the start of the plague. (Sorry you guys out there, we didn't kill him as we were in his territory, he wasn't in ours). I remember a mouse plague back on the farm, it was unbelievable, even the cats just walked past them without turning their heads, lift up anything and the ground would be moving.
Take all the good advice on board Rose and you will have a wonderful time. Just make the best of what is there and you will love it.

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Reply By: Pushy - Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 at 09:28

Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 at 09:28

Harden up certainly (tongue in cheek). All this talk of a mouse plague reminded me of our hiking trip to Hinchinbrook Island two years ago. The native rats on the island are a problem and have a tendency to eat through anything to get to food including packs and tents. The advice was to have no food in or near the tent at anytime and to hang packs from special rat lines at night.

I made ours from 100kg fishing line with two pieces of pvc pipe near either end. The pvc pipe would roll around and dislodge any rats good enough to walk along the line.

Although we had seen coconuts with holes in them along the way we had not seen many rats and were wondering if the the effort to make the rat line was really worth it, until our last night.

We were woken many times with what sounded like a sawmill right next to our tents and by the sound of the racket, they were making quick work of eating through the coconuts.

Its all part of the adventure that makes for long lasting memories. Have a great time.
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Follow Up By: Rose B - Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 at 17:58

Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 at 17:58
Oh my I certainly hope we don't have those sort of rats in the outback!!! I am totally amazed at the stories out there....It will certainly be an adventure....

I'm still not sure if I'll tell the kids or let them find out for themselves!! Although I think they'll suspect something when I'm lugging plastic tubs to the car and burning every bit of food that I can lay my hands on!!!! and probably having a go at everyone about keeping the area food free!!! They just might suspect something....craazy mother!!!

Thanks for sharing!! (:)
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Reply By: Mrs Parrot - Saturday, Jun 18, 2011 at 17:41

Saturday, Jun 18, 2011 at 17:41
Hi Rose
We got back yesterday from a trip to Lake Eyre North and the mice were everywhere there. As soon as the sun set they were out and there were lots of hopping mice as well. We had trouble getting into our tent without them getting in as they were running along the front of it. They were even trying to jump up onto a bucket we had at the front. They ran around the tent, over it, under it and across it all night. There are lots of seagulls and they swoop on the mice to catch them and that went on all night. They love the campfire and come and sit next to it. So sadly you will hear mice noises during the night. If your tent doesn't zip up all over they will get under flys and run over the mesh. The cold doesn't keep them at bay-which is what I was told. We kept all food in plastic containers in the car. They were everywhere at William Creek and you could see them running along the walls of the dining room at the pub and across the floors and in the bar area and they were everywhere in the camp ground, we stayed in a cabin there but they are expensive for what you get and only have a bed in them. We were at Wallaroo before this and they were everywhere there and two weeks previous we were in Pinaroo and they were unbelievable there so sadly they are everywhere and they do chew through tents as we have heard this from others but fortunately not ours. At Lake Eyre the edge of the lake is littered with rat carcasses although we didn't see any live ones thank goodness. Parachilna Gorge had a few but nothing that bothered us. I hate them with a passion so found it uncomfortable. Just don't leave things on the ground and check everything before you pack it back in the car and keep the tent securely zipped up at all times.
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Follow Up By: Rose B - Saturday, Jun 18, 2011 at 21:32

Saturday, Jun 18, 2011 at 21:32
Hi Mrs Parrot - I hope you still had a nice trip - I hear what your saying... we will be going to Lake Eyre through the Flinders Ranges end of this week so I suppose I'm not expecting them to suddenly disappear. Can't really imagine it - sounds like a horror movie or perhaps more like a Beatrix Potter story!!!

My main concern is that we have a new Black Wolf tent that isn't canvas but that ripstop material so not sure if it will survive mice chewing through it.... hope so it was rather expensive. It may be entertaining for a while for the boys I'm sure but I'm like you and will find it uncomfortable. I suppose the trick is to keep the tent zipped up, and all food away from us in plastic tubs... I wonder if we would sleep in the car if it got too bad... hope they can't get in there!!! Anyway can't do anything about it and we are going on our Outback Roadtrip....wonder if it might be best to camp away from the popular areas???

Thanks so much for your informative blog.

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Follow Up By: Mrs Parrot - Saturday, Jun 18, 2011 at 23:58

Saturday, Jun 18, 2011 at 23:58
We have an OZ Tent and it held up well so fingers crossed for you. Have a great trip as it really is beautiful country.
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