Bites at Animal Planet

8 Jan

Drug-Laced Mice Dropped on Guam to Kill Nuisance Snakes

Blog-brown-tree-snake-500w.jpg
There are an estimated 3 million brown tree snakes in Guam. (Photo Credit: moodboard/Corbis)

It sounds like something out of a war movie: a group of commandos parachute into hostile territory to kill the enemy wreaking havoc on the locals.

Imagine the scenario, but replace 'enemy' with snakes and 'commandos' with drug-laced mice. Now it’s a real story!

Last month, US officials dropped 2,000 dead mice stuffed with paracetamol (an analgesic found in over-the-counter pain relievers) on to Guam. The mission? To halt the nuisance brown tree snake population. Once the mice were dropped, the snakes would go after them, only to die from the drug.

While the brown tree snake is native to Australia and Papua New Guinea, the species was first spotted in Guam (a US territory) after World War II, according to BBC News. Since then, the population has skyrocketed to 3 million, with about 12,000 per square mile in some areas. And with lots of prey and few predators around, the population flourished.

The mission may seem a bit excessive, but necessary. Do you think something else could be done? Comment and let us know! 

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Welcome to the Bites @ Animal Planet, where you can connect with the people who bring Animal Planet to life. Find out what's in the works here at Animal Planet, share your feedback with the team and see what's getting our attention online and in the news.

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