Plague Rats Vacation in a Small Town

Written by on December 21, 2023

Plague Rats Vacation in a Small Town – story by Liam Sweeny.

Picture the Dark Ages and what do you see? I know at least one thing you see is the plague. Bubonic. People in full buboe eruption sewing themselves into their shrouds. Men moving through the streets with carts saying ‘bring out your dead’ like bodies were stuffed Hefty bags. And what brought about this scourge of humankind?

Rats. Specifically, the fleas on the rats, but it’s hard to hate a flea. It’s hard to have any kind of feeling over a flea. So the long-haired rat, also known as the ‘plague rat’ wiped out a third of Europe.

Welcome to the small coastal Queensland, Australia town of Karumba. They have a rat problem. A hungry rat problem. A plague-rat problem.

Plague rats infest Karumba every twelve years, about. They come from an area in the outback and swim down a river in search of food. This river goes out to sea, and so many of these rats eventually drown, it makes Karumba unbearably aromatic unless the coastal wind changes direction.

These rats are many, and hungry. They normally eat grasses, but that’s the dinner at home. The dining out includes entire car wiring systems and even cage-stolen duck eggs.

Karumba is small, a couple of hundred folks, but they get thousands of “grey nomads,” the Australian equivalent of Florida “snowbirds.”

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a good description is worth half a picture when none are at hand, and maybe this is a good one. In talking about how the clean up of dead rats is coming, a clean up guy mention he’d fill 18 bags – each bag holding a hundred dead rats. And that was just a few hours’ work.

No notice of any plague, and this is a cyclical happening in Karumba, the birds and feral cats are well fed, so the citizenry might as well make the most of it. So… want a pet rat?



More from Liam Sweeny…

Current track