The government is fighting the out-of-control scourge of brown tree snakes in Guam’s jungles by showering the island with drug-filled mouse carcasses. The rain of dead mice mostly like fulfills some biblical prophesies as well. National Geographic reports:
Dead mice packed with drugs were recently airdropped into Guam’s dense jungle canopy—part of a new effort to kill an invasive species of snake on the U.S. Pacific island territory.
In the U.S. government-funded project, tablets of concentrated acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, are placed in dead thumb-size mice, which are then used as bait for brown tree snakes.
Only about 80 milligrams of acetaminophen—equal to a child’s dose of Tylenol—are needed to kill an adult brown tree snake. Once ingested via a dead mouse, it typically takes about 60 hours for the drug to kill a snake.
Inadvertently introduced to Guam (map) from the Solomon Islands after World War II, brown tree snakes are responsible for the extinction or severe reduction of several of the island’s native species.
Before the laced mice are airdropped, they are attached to “flotation devices” that each consist of two pieces of cardboard joined by a 4-foot-long (1.2-meter-long) paper streamer.
The flotation device was designed to get the bait stuck in upper tree branches, where the brown tree snakes reside, instead of falling to the jungle floor, where the drug-laden mice might inadvertently get eaten by nontarget species, such as monitor lizards.
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