US To Air-Drop Toxic Mice On Guam: Snake Control

The US government is set to air-drop toxic mice on Guam as an inventive form of snake control. Guam has been plagued with an estimated two million venomous brown tree snakes for nearly 60 years.

Brown tree snakes are an invasive species in Guam. Biologists suggest that the snakes arrived on the island on US military ships or planes during World War II. The snakes continued to breed in the jungles, which are an ideal habitat for the reptiles.

As reported by BBC, the snakes have taken over the island creating numerous environmental and safety concerns. The estimated two million brown tree snakes have invaded homes, shorted out electrical systems, and caused devastating damage to native wildlife.

As the snake population grew, they fed on eggs and baby birds that previously had no predators in Guam. This has impacted the ecosystem and completely eliminated 10 different species of birds. In addition to birds, the snakes have diminished the population of other native species including lizards, rodents, and small mammals.

Scientists have devised a plan to air-drop toxic mice on Guam as a form of snake control. The dead mice will be laced with the painkiller acetaminophen, which is toxic for snakes. Unlike some species, brown tree snakes will eat prey that is already dead.

US scientists have developed the plan through the years with the assistance of the Department of Defense and the Department of the Interior. As reported by ABC News, the mice will be attached to parachute-like devices that will distribute them in branches where the snakes are most likely to look for food.

The US government hopes to air-drop the toxic mice on Guam sometime in April or May of this year.

[Image via flickr]