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Rat plague spreads to Australia's fishing towns

Thousands of rats - dead and alive - have swept up on beaches in Queensland Australia, overwhelming residents.

Parts of the state have been battling a rat and mouse plague for months now.

A surge in the native rodent population has forced the rats to move coastwards in their search for more food, but many do not survive the trip, according to experts quoted in local media.

"Mate, there's rats everywhere," Derek Lord, a resident from the town of Normanton, told AFP news agency.

"We have hire vehicles and they literally destroyed a car overnight, taking all of the wiring out of the engine bay," said Mr Lord, 49.

He added that his pet ducks had been "going mad" as rats broke into their cages.

The rats have also infested the neighbouring town of Karumba in the past few weeks and some residents worry they will have an adverse effect on tourism in the area, Australian media reported. Karumba is well-known as a fishing and birdwatching paradise.

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