Canterbury's Arthur's Pass facing mouse plague of 'biblical proportions'

The Department of Conservation (DoC) is warning we are on the cusp of a predator eruption.

Arthur's Pass is swarming with mice after a wide spread beech seed mast provided an overabundance of food for predators. 

"The mice here are just on the verge of erupting, so we're talking plague proportions, biblical proportions," said DoC North Canterbury operations manager Kingsley Timpson.

It's the result of a beech super mast, where tonnes of seed fall to the ground in the national park, providing a feast for rodents. 

"The seeds are the size of pin heads, so the volume of it in a normal mast year is like a bucket full that you would get around here," said Timpson.

"This year that we've experienced is like an Olympic swimming pool so the food is just phenomenal." 

More mice mean more rats and stoats and then native birds become their prey. 

Pete Neale from the Arthur's Pass Wildlife Trust is taking matters into his own hands by setting traps around his property. 

Neale has caught about 20 mice overnight - and that's considered small. Usually he would catch double that.

DoC is relying entirely on traps in the mountains. 

The high numbers of keas means they can't drop 1080 poison within a 15 kilometre radius of the village - and with the increasing frequency of super masts the problem is getting worse. 

"The build-up of predators is happening more often and species just can't co-exist, our native species just can't co-exist with the volume of predators and the frequency of them coming in plague proportions," said Timpson.

Predator numbers are predicted to double by Christmas, so residents are doing their bit to protect our precious native species.