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Drug-Filled Mice Are Airdropped!

The invasive brown tree snake was accidentally introduced to the island of Guam about 60 years ago and continues to be a major threat to their economy and ecology. To put an end to this problem, biologists recently airdropped close to 2,000 dead mice injected with a toxic substance onto Anderson Air Force Base.

Brown tree snakes have caused millions of dollars in damage on the island during the past decade. In order to help eliminate these snakes, the biologists attached tiny cardboard parachutes onto the dead mice and dropped them over the test sites.

The snake’s diet consists of bats, birds, lizards and small rodents. When a snake eats one of these “airborne” mice, it will be the snake’s last meal, since the mice have been injected with 80 milligrams of acetaminophen, an ingredient found in the painkiller, Tylenol.

These snakes do not present much danger to humans. However, they have devastated the majority of Guam’s native bird population and are responsible for thousands of power outages.

Biologists say that the drug-laced mice should not affect other species. They go on to say that it would take 500 baits to kill a pig or dog and 15 baits to kill a cat.  The drug disrupts the oxygen carrying ability of haemoglobin in the snake. This causes the snake to enter into a trauma and die when it gulps down a rodent.

If this program is successful, they plan to increase the number of airdrops and conduct them on a larger scale.