Imagine the devastation of a mouse plague so grotesquely abundant in vermin numbers that they are literally everywhere, under every surface and so desperate for food that one even nibbled a 7-year-old’s finger while she slept. It sounds like a horror movie but is sadly one family’s reality as they desperately try to save her from losing a finger.

A sleepover this little girl will never forget

Sleepovers are fun, right? Not always. Three weeks ago, 7-year-old Ariella Cox was having a sleepover at a friend’s house in Gayndah, Queensland when she woke to a mouse nibbling on her right-hand index finger.

The mouse bites had led to Ariella having a severe infection, one of which local hospitals weren’t able to treat. Ariella was then airlifted to the Queensland Children’s Hospital at the weekend to seek help, more than 300km from home, Ariella’s mum Shannon Riddle, reported.

“She was sent to Bundaberg Hospital and because of how bad the infection is, then because it was in her bones, they sent us down to Brisbane.”

mouse plague bite injury
The mouse bite resulted in several surgeries. Source: Bigstock

Shannon has said the whole ordeal has been a painful and terrifying ordeal for her little girl as she went in and out of surgery.

“She’s scared of losing her finger… she’s scared of the whole thing.”

Shannon went on to say that the doctors are doing everything they can to save Ariella’s finger. How long they’ll be at the hospital is unclear as they see how Ariella responds to treatment.

“Not sure how long we’re going to be here – it could be a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on how the finger goes.”

mouse plague
NOT cute. Nothing is off-limits in a mouse plague, not even your sleeping children. Source: Bigstock

A warning to others

Anyone who has lived through a mouse plague will know just how awful it is. Mice are literally everywhere, thick as a carpet, both outside and hiding inside your home.

Shannon wants to warn others that if you are baiting mice (which typically attracts mice) to be careful. Especially don’t let children sleep on mattresses (a common sleepover occurrence) on the floor while mice are active.

“When they lay bait, just be careful, especially if it’s inside your house – and please don’t put your children on the floor.”

Sleepover’s aside, many parents opt to have a mattress made up on the floor next to their bed, for children who love to creep in during the night to snuggle into. It’s time to rethink that if you live in a mouse plague area. Raise it off the floor or pull back your warm quilt and let the kids in to cosy up next to you in your bed.

mice plague child sleeping
A mouse plague means no more sleeping on a floor-level mattress! Source: Bigstock

But wait, there are more mouse plague victims

While humans often feel the disastrous effect of mice plagues, commonly through property and crops being destroyed by excessive vermin, our pets and wildlife are also very vulnerable to baited mice and baits.

As desperate as you are to rid your home of mice, take the time to think about where you’re laying baits and what in. Cats and dogs can chew cardboard bait boxes open easily, resulting in poisoning and them subsequently becoming very sick.

Be sure to dispose of any deceased baited mice properly too – pets or wildlife who pick them up to play with or eat, also risk becoming ill.

The only good thing about the freezing cold winter is that it’s nature’s way of helping kerb a mouse plague. Between the rain, overnight frosts and freezing cold snaps, mice die of exposure to such elements.


A timely reminder for all to be careful, we hope your hospital stay is a short one Ariella and Shannon and you’re back in your own community of Gayndah surrounded by supportive friends before too long – with your pointer finger intact!

In the meantime, stock up on traps, folks, the end is hopefully nigh!

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Author

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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