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Gold Coast natural environment

We have one of Australia's most biodiverse cities. Let's explore, celebrate and work together to protect it for the future.

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Rats and mice

In Queensland, there could be up to twenty-four native species of rodents. However, it is the three introduced species that have become such pests to society:

  • Brown Rat (or Sewer Rat): a burrower, is thick set and brown in colour.
  • Roof Rat: a climber, is slender and black in colour.
  • House Mouse: can be distinguished by its small size.

In Australia there are approximately 60 native species including the well known water rat, bush rat and stick-nest rats. Read our fact sheet for more information.

The presence of rats and mice in buildings can result in food spoilage and contamination, physical damage caused by gnawing which can sometimes lead to costly fires, and the transmission of diseases to humans.

The most common disease transmitted by rats is Salmonellosis which is spread when food is consumed by humans which has been contaminated by excreta or saliva of rats.

In Queensland, introduced rats have been associated with the spread of Plague (the last outbreak being in 1923), Weils Disease, Rat Bite Fever, Murine Typhus and a form of Meningitis, all of which may result in serious illness or death. (Note: Plague and Murine Typhus are transmitted by rat fleas.)

How do you detect rodents?

The following signs can indicate the presence of rodents:

  • damage to food containers or droppings
  • rat runs (lines in the dust or greasy smears on walls and fences worn by the rat)
  • disappearance of food
  • sounds during the night
  • gnaw marks or burrows.

What can you do?

  • Place all food wastes in an approved refuse container with a close fitting lid.
  • Keep yards and fowl runs clear of all waste food.
  • Keep poultry and animal food in metal bins with a tight lid. Always keep doors to food cupboards closed.
  • Keep houses and warehouses dry to deny rodents access to water.
  • Clear house and land of all rubbish and lumber. Take it to the refuse tip. Stack timber and boxes at least 30 centimetres above the ground and 30 centimetres away from the walls, to stop rats from burrowing under them.
  • Keep grass cut short and dispose of litter at the refuse tip. High grass and long weeds hide rodent burrows and conceal their movements. Close openings around all pipes entering buildings.
  • Cover basement windows and openings under buildings with wire or fine mesh. A rat can squeeze through a very small opening. Edge doors and windows of food stalls with metal.
  • Quickly repair breakages in wall linings.
  • Fix break-back traps on rat runs in such a manner that the rat must step on the trigger. Leave unset for several nights beforehand so that the rodents may become accustomed to the presence of the trap. It is not necessary to bait the trap for rats, but in the case of mice, an attractive bait such as cheese or bacon should be securely fastened to the trigger.

For rodent control on public property (such as parks) or advice on rodent control, use our online Report a problem - Public health and safety form to report the issue, or contact us on 1300 GOLD COAST or 07 5582 8211.

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