Using poisoned mice to get rid of snakes!October 2nd, 2010 - 10:01 am ICT by IANS
New York, Oct 2 (IANS) US authorities are trying to get rid of venomous snakes in its territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean by “bombing” the island with poisoned mice.
Using helicopters from its Naval Base in Guam, scientists from the US department of agriculture have dropped mice packed with acetaminophen into the jungles in a ploy to rid Guam of its population of brown tree snakes, Fox News reported citing military news outlet Stars and Stripes.
Guam’s snake problem began in the 1980s, when the creatures arrived on the island accidentally in military cargo.
The drug has already undergone extensive testing, said Dan Vice, assistant state director of the Wildlife Services in Hawaii, Guam and the Pacific Islands.
The mildly venomous snakes can grow up to 10 feet long and, according to the department of land and natural resources, are the main cause of endangerment for Guam’s native animals.
“The discovery that snakes will die when they eat acetaminophen was a huge step forward,” said Anne Brooke, conservation resources programme manager for Naval Facilities Command.
“The problem was how you get the snakes to eat it.”
The solution was to drop the mice into the snakes’ natural habitat, the branches of trees in the jungles of Guam. By fitting the mice with cardboard wings, the bait could float down to the jungle and get caught on the branches. The result was a hanging, deadly snack for the snakes.
Researchers began testing the system this September, dropping 200 mice into 20 acres around the base. The effectiveness of the experiment was, however, still to be known, officials said.
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Tags: acetaminophen, assistant state director, brown tree snakes, conservation resources, department of agriculture, fox news, jungles, military cargo, military news, native animals, natural habitat, news outlet, pacific islands, ploy, snake problem, stars and stripes, territory of guam, us department of agriculture, venomous snakes, wildlife services