It wasn't long before the gene spread into the general rabbit population in the Australian outback. At first the reports of animal deaths were attributed to drought, or to an atypical rise in traditional predators, such as dingos. However, soon both dingos and kangaroos started to show up dead, with their bodies shredded and mutilated by small toothmarks, just as had been previously seen with the smaller animals.
The first human victim disappeared on the night of May 22. It was hot and dry, and Bert Delancey had been working all through the afternoon, trying to get the shearing equipment prepared for the next day's competitions. He was hot and thirsty, and decided to head into town for a few pints, some food, and the company of his mates. The others from the group had gone into town a few hours before, so Bert decided to walk -- no point pissin' off the lads at the pub by phonin' for a ride--and it was only a half hour walk, hardly worth the call. It was even starting to cool down, and the thought of some cool, clear air after the hours in the hot, putrid-smelling shearing pit was almost appealing.