March 04, 2013
Snakes in Guam: USDA to Drop Drug-Laced Mice from Helicopters to Poison Invasive Species
By Chad Love
The brown tree snake has a rather innocuous-sounding name, but these non-native arboreal terrors have almost completely wiped out native bird populations on the island of Guam. For years the U.S. government has tried to eradicate the snakes with little success. Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying something new: poison-laced rodent bombs dropped from helicopters.
From this story on CNN:
If you're a brown tree snake, those dead rodents that will soon be falling from the sky over Guam's Andersen Air Force Base could be your last meal. That's because the U.S. Department of Agriculture is planning to pack each one with acetaminophen, the generic equivalent of Tylenol, which can kill a snake in 72 hours. The drug-laced mice will be taped to pieces of cardboard, which in turn will be attached to streamers that will be dropped from helicopters over more than 100 acres of the Air Force base on the Pacific island.
According to the story, the snakes, which are native to Australia and the surrounding region, were introduced after World War II by stowing away inside packing crates and cargo. They have since gone hog wild, and are so numerous (some estimates say two million) that they routinely cause power outages by climbing along electrical lines. About 2,000 mice will be dropped in the test.