Dead mouse trap for lethal snakes

Last updated 05:00 24/02/2013

Relevant offers

Asia

Hope for executed Kiwi's brother as war crimes inquiry ends after nearly 8 years First glimpse of Japan's whale slaughter in defiance of international court Jet crashes during children's air show in Thailand Magnitude 5.6 earthquake hits off Indonesia's Maluku islands Grandmother, 92, allegedly forced to live 'like a pig' by her own son Chinese factory makes giant inflatable 'Trump-like' roosters Samsung executive interrogated for 22 hours in bribery probe Opinions on 'comfort women' reveal Japan-South Korea divide 'Pakistani Hulk': 435kg man stops a tractor from reversing with his bare hands Tigerair gets four-day reprieve to get stranded passengers out of Bali

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