Rats dine out on NQ poly pipe

Eric Barker, 12/01/2024

Rats are still prevalent in many parts of North West Queensland. Photo: Nigel Simmons

WHILE large parts of North Queensland enjoyed their best season in a long-time last year, rats have been wreaking havoc on the area ever since – chewing through poly pipe and causing some nauseating clean ups.

Many of the area’s cattle producers say financial loss has not been as big an issue as the nuisance value of cleaning dead rats out of troughs and fixing up equipment. However, there were concerns for crops in the area, which is a reasonably new industry.

The area has received some good storms rain since October, which has reportedly reduced rat populations.

But parts that haven’t received the big rain are still dealing with the rodents.

Nigel Simmons, who owns Garomna and Clarafield stations south of Julia Creek, said the rats had been around for most of last year and had started chewing through poly pipe at the start of October. He posted the below photo on Facebook this week.

Rats have chewed some big holes through poly pipe in North Qld. Photo: Nigel Simmons

“We were lucky enough to have some winter rain here, which didn’t grow a big body of feed but it grew green herbage, which we had until about September/October before it dried off,” Mr Simmons said.

“I’m guessing they were getting most of their moisture out of the green pick. So, I think when they stopped getting moisture out of the feed, they started going for the poly pipe to try and get to the water.”

Mr Simmons said where troughs were turned off and no water was flowing through the poly pipe, the rats were chewing some big holes as they looked for water.

“I only found out about the really big holes when I turned on a bore and the water wasn’t reaching the troughs, which was annoying because I then had to drive along the line and find the leak,” he said.

“When the water is flowing through the pipes they tend to just chew little holes that I can fix with a tek screw – or if it is a small enough hole I just leave it so they don’t chew through another part of the pipe. I was putting joiners in where they had chewed through but that became really time consuming.”

Rain needed to mitigate rats

Mr Simmons said he had dealt with rats after the 2011 season, but early rain in 2012 knocked the populations around. He said he was hoping for a similar result this year.

“We had about 75mm over the house in November, which really knocked the rats back – instead of seeing them on the road every 5-10m you were seeing every 200-300m,” he said.

“It has been a bit dry since then and they have come back in, not as bad as they were but doing more damage. We had a bit of rain this week and bit more on the forecast so I am hoping that slows them down.

“I remember we had a big wet season at the start of 2012 and they did not go until we had the big rain.”




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  1. Mike, 13/01/2024

    We had similar problems in the southern tablelands NSW. THE score was 5 irrigation pipes and 2 wiring harnesses on the car.

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