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2,000 mice deployed on Guam to kill invasive snake species

Dec 3 2013, 9:45pm CST | by , in News | Technology News

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2,000 mice deployed on Guam to kill invasive snake species

It was a last resort to kill the invasive brown tree snake that has plagued Guam for years.

The brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis), native to Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, was first seen in Guam sometime in the 1950s. Over the years, their numbers grew drastically, eventually threatening wildlife, particularly exotic native birds, and causing commercial damages on large industrial facilities in the island.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has tried everything - from snake traps to snake-tracking dogs - but the snakes were sneaky. In a bid to finally control the snake's population, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has deployed over 2,000 rodents on Guam.

The army of mice, already dead, are attached to cardboard parachutes and injected with painkillers which contain acetaminophen - an active ingredient that can kill the snake. For some reason, brown tree snakes are senstitive to the active ingredient.

"The cardboard is heavier than the tissue paper and opens up in an inverted horseshoe. It then floats down and ultimately hangs up in the forest canopy. Once it's hung in the forest canopy, snakes have an opportunity to consume the bait," said Dan Vice, a wildlife biologist. 

Source: NBC News

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