A mouse's bid to stowaway in a hollowed-out baguette from the Cook Islands to New Zealand, has failed after biosecurity officials stopped it at the border.
Ministry for Primary Industries staff at Auckland Airport initially discovered ants, cockroaches and rodent droppings when a Taiwanese passenger declared food in a carry bag after returning from the Cook Islands, MPI northern border clearance manager, passengers and mail Craig Hughes said.
Also inside the bag was a baguette that had been hollowed out from the top in a sealed plastic bag.
Staff conducted a full search of the passenger's luggage and then sent the contaminated items to be treated.
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The mouse appeared after the bag was treated, Mr Hughes said.
"It clearly didn't like the insecticide, as it tried to escape the plastic bag a few moments later.
"Our lab staff initially got a bit of shock. They were amazed at how the mouse had made itself such a cosy nest in the baguette for its travels," he said.
"There was some sadness as well, as the mouse had to be humanely euthanased to protect New Zealand from biosecurity risks to our primary industries or environment."
The passenger was very apologetic when told about the live mouse and happily agreed to dispose of the remaining food, Mr Hughes said.
MPI was pleased the passenger had declared the food in the first place.
"Any passenger that declares or disposes of biosecurity risk goods before passing the border is doing their bit to keep New Zealand safe from dangerous pests or diseases," he said.