Jump to content



Photo

USA to air-drop toxic mice on Guam snakes

south pacific andersen air force base native birds defenseless dead neonatal mice acetaminophen

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Hum

Hum

    totally wAcKed

  • 63,470 posts
  • Joined: 05-October 03
  • Location: Odder Space
  • OS: Windows XP, 7

Posted 23 February 2013 - 02:37

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AP) -- Dead mice laced with painkillers are about to rain down on Guam's jungle canopy. They are scientists' prescription for a headache that has caused the tiny U.S. territory misery for more than 60 years: the brown tree snake.

Most of Guam's native bird species are extinct because of the snake, which reached the island's thick jungles by hitching rides from the South Pacific on U.S. military ships shortly after World War II. There may be 2 million of the reptiles on Guam now, decimating wildlife, biting residents and even knocking out electricity by slithering onto power lines.

More than 3,000 miles away, environmental officials in Hawaii have long feared a similar invasion — which in their case likely would be a "snakes on a plane" scenario. That would cost the state many vulnerable species and billions of dollars, but the risk will fall if Guam's air-drop strategy succeeds.

"We are taking this to a new phase," said Daniel Vice, assistant state director of U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services in Hawaii, Guam, and the Pacific Islands. "There really is no other place in the world with a snake problem like Guam."

Brown tree snakes are generally a few feet (1 meter) long but can grow to be more than 10 feet (3 meters) in length. Most of Guam's native birds were defenseless against the nocturnal, tree-based predators, and within a few decades of the reptile's arrival, nearly all of them were wiped out.

The snakes can also climb power poles and wires, causing blackouts, or slither into homes and bite people, including babies; they use venom on their prey but it is not lethal to humans.

The infestation and the toll it has taken on native wildlife have tarnished Guam's image as a tourism haven, though the snakes are rarely seen outside their jungle habitat.

The solution to this headache, fittingly enough, is acetaminophen, the active ingredient in painkillers including Tylenol. :huh:

The strategy takes advantage of the snake's two big weaknesses. Unlike most snakes, brown tree snakes are happy to eat prey they didn't kill themselves, and they are highly vulnerable to acetaminophen, which is harmless to humans.

The upcoming mice drop is targeted to hit snakes near Guam's sprawling Andersen Air Force Base, which is surrounded by heavy foliage and if compromised would offer the snakes a potential ticket off the island. Using helicopters, the dead neonatal mice will be dropped by hand, one by one.

U.S. government scientists have been perfecting the mice-drop strategy for more than a decade with support from the Department of Defense and the Department of the Interior.

To keep the mice bait from dropping all the way to the ground, where it could be eaten by other animals or attract insects as they rot, researchers have developed a flotation device with streamers designed to catch in the branches of the forest foliage, where the snakes live and feed.

Experts say the impact on other species will be minimal, particularly since the snakes have themselves wiped out the birds that might have been most at risk.

more


#2 1941

1941

    Banned

  • 18,175 posts
  • Joined: 17-July 06

Posted 23 February 2013 - 02:44

So we are going to bomb the snakes. With B-52's?

#3 Cheatyface

Cheatyface

    Did I cheat? No. ....Yes.

  • 592 posts
  • Joined: 26-January 07
  • Location: In a chair

Posted 23 February 2013 - 02:44

Because this couldn't possibly have negative consequences among other species that eat rodents. Brilliant.

And before anyone says "but the experts say it won't" all I wanna say is:

Posted Image

#4 OP Hum

Hum

    totally wAcKed

  • 63,470 posts
  • Joined: 05-October 03
  • Location: Odder Space
  • OS: Windows XP, 7

Posted 23 February 2013 - 03:02

Anyone disturbed that the poison is Tylenol ... ? :s

#5 Growled

Growled

    Neowinian Senior

  • 41,508 posts
  • Joined: 17-December 08
  • Location: USA

Posted 23 February 2013 - 03:25

We are always at war with something it seems. :D

#6 1941

1941

    Banned

  • 18,175 posts
  • Joined: 17-July 06

Posted 23 February 2013 - 03:27

Anyone disturbed that the poison is Tylenol ... ? :s


I haven't taken that since the big problem back in the 80's with the tampering.

#7 DocM

DocM

    Neowinian Senior

  • 18,964 posts
  • Joined: 31-July 10
  • Location: Michigan

Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:42

Anyone disturbed that the poison is Tylenol ... ? :s


Many people don't know it, but acetaminophen (Tylenol etc.) has a toxic dose that is, relatively speaking, a low multiple of its therapeutic dose. As such, an acetaminophen overdose is the #1 cause of acute liver failure in the US.

Not a problem if you are young & healthy AND stick to the recommended doses, but if you are older or have conditions or take meds or supplements that allow it to build up in your system things can get nasty.

Bottom line: not a bad poison, bur a slow one.