Dead mouse trap for lethal snakes

Last updated 05:00 24/02/2013

Relevant offers

World

Riots erupt in Stockholm suburb after Trump's Sweden comments strike nerve A father on his way to work, a son on his way home and a tragic head-on collision Australian model saves teens who fell through icy New York pond Concerns about 10-year-old boy rapist's ability to understand Australian court system Trump will protect US 'dreamers', all other illegal immigrants subject to deportation Fighter jets intercept passenger plane after it loses contact with air traffic control Owner of Egg, missing pet pug dog, charged with making false report to police Daredevils climb London skyscraper, right to the top Dick Smith blames 'jumbo loads' of immigrants for high Aussie house prices Australian mall crash pilot Max Quartermain was already under investigation

Declaring war against invasive brown tree snakes infesting the Pacific US territory of Guam, wildlife officials plan this spring to bomb the island with dead baby mice stuffed with a common pain-killing medicine that is poisonous to the reptiles.

Brown tree snakes, believed to have been inadvertently carried to Guam around the end of World War Two aboard US military vessels, have become major pests blamed for wiping out native bird populations on the island.

Wildlife officials have worried for years that the snakes, which have no natural predators on Guam, could one day reach other Pacific islands, especially Hawaii, nearly 6400km to the east, raising further environmental havoc.

‘‘Guam is a very unique situation,’’ said William Pitt, a wildlife biologist at the US Agriculture Department’s National Wildlife Research Center in Hawaii.

‘‘There is no other place in the world that has a snake issue like Guam.’’

The project is set to begin in March or April with dead newborn mice being dropped by helicopter over jungle areas where the snakes are most heavily concentrated.

One initial target will be the vicinity of Andersen Air Force Base, which is surrounded by dense vegetation and is seen as a potential starting point for snakes that might end up as stowaways aboard departing aircraft.

Stuffed into the mouth of each infant mouse will be acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol and other over-the-counter pain-relief medications, which is toxic to snakes ‘‘and not a lot of other animals,’’ Pitt said.

In an attempt to keep the baited mice off the ground, each tiny rodent will be attached to a strand of ribbon between pieces of cardboard designed to drop in a loop and catch in the canopy of trees, he said.

The goal of the aerial assault, which will eventually involving the dropping of some 2000 mice in all, is not to eradicate but to curtail and control the brown tree snake population on the island, Pitt said.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content