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Dead Mice Are Going To Be Dropped On Guam From Helicopters


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#1 TEO

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:09 PM

Here's the latest plan scientists have come up with to kill some of the estimated 2 million brown tree snakes that have wiped out many other animals on Guam:

In April or May they're going to lace dead mice with painkillers, attach them to little parachutes, drop them from helicopters and hope that they get snagged in the jungle foliage. Then, if all goes well, the snakes — which as their name implies hang out in trees — will eat the mice and die from ingesting the painkillers' active ingredients.

We aren't kidding. That's what The Associated Press is reporting from Guam's Andersen Air Force Base, near where this experimental airdrop will happen.

To work, the snakes are going to have to discover their snacks from the sky fairly quickly.According to the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service:

"Dead mice are attractive to snakes only for 2-3 days. After this time, and owing to the tropical climate, the lure is no longer available."

Scientists don't think the mice bombs will be a threat to other animals, so long as they get caught in the jungle canopy. There aren't many birds left on the island — because of the snakes.

As NPR's Christopher Joyce reported last September, "the brown tree snake invaded Guam over 60 years ago — they sneaked in aboard boats or in the wheel wells of airplanes." It's feared that they might show up elsewhere, such as Hawaii, if they hop rides on planes and ships leaving Guam. The Agriculture Department has estimated that if the snakes reached the Aloha State, the economic damage "from medical incidents [bites], power outages [they get caught in power lines and transmitters], and decreases in tourism ... would range from approximately $593 million to $2.14 billion annually."

The snakes' presence in Guam has been good for at least some creatures. Chris reported that because the snakes have eaten most of the island's birds, the spider population has exploded.

Update at 3:30 p.m. ET. Birds' Decline Has Taken A Toll.

From a 2011 report posted on Andersen Air Base's website:

" 'As you may or may not know, the brown tree snake is responsible for the extinction of nine of 12 forest birds on Guam,' explained [Marc Hall, the supervisory wildlife biologist of USDA on Andersen]. 'Research is showing that the loss of the birds may be impacting the ability of the natural ecosystem to sustain itself.'

"Before the snakes arrived, Guam's ecosystem was very different. Numerous birds could be seen and heard when walking through the northern limestone forests. Without the birds to disperse seeds and the fact that nonnative pigs and deer tear up the ground and eat sapling plants, the native limestone forest has been severely degraded and will require extensive help in order to recover."

Update at 3:15 p.m. ET. Live Vs. Dead Bait:

Some readers in the comments thread have expressed surprise that snakes would eat dead — not live — mice. This research paper posted online by the Agriculture Department indicates that in earlier tests, the snakes did devour "dead neonatal mice adulterated with 80-mg acetaminophen" and that the "baiting" with laced mice was effective in killing the snakes.

The researchers also concluded that "other tactics to increase area of coverage and decrease labor costs, such as aerial application of baits, would improve the cost efficiency of the baiting method over trapping even further."

 

.http://www.npr.org/b...mpaign=20130222



#2 hoagie

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:14 PM

Nows it time for another episode of "Good Idea/Bad Idea"

#3 concert andy

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:21 PM

Nows it time for another episode of "Good Idea/Bad Idea"

 

If this works, they will do this in Florida, where they had a Prize for who ever caught the most snakes.

 

Total snakes caught:  a measly 68.



#4 seany

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:32 PM

The brown tree snake problem has been a huge ecological disaster in Guam for decades.  I had a wildlife biologist roommate back in the 90s that worked on it for 2 years and I was friends with one of the other USFWS principles on the project at the time.  These things have decimated all the local birds and other wildlife because they've had no predators.  And they're bitey - they'll snap at anything that encroaches them and are mildly venemous (though unlikely to break skin on humans because of how their fangs are designed).  One of the biggest hassles with them is that they climb everything - not just trees, but the powerlines and they short-out the electrical grid on a regular basis.  It's a rolling "brown snake out" daily ;)  It's been a mess for decades and they still don't have a good solution on how to contain or eradicate them.



#5 Depends

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:52 PM

I saw tons of them when I visited Guam.  The snakes get into the wheel wells of aircraft too.  They have people with big sticks grabbing snakes prior to takeoff.



#6 HABIT

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:25 PM

Lets think about this for a second, Snakes are not the only animal that eats mice, many medium sized predators eat mice and what happens if the mice have babies. what if the snakes don't eat the mice and the mice reproduce and cause an even bigger problem. 

 

I call 6 months after they drop the mice news reports will be about total failure and total mice epidemic.



#7 TEO

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:34 PM

I believe the plan is for the mice to be already dead when they drop them.



#8 Jwheelz

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:44 PM

necrophiliac zombie mice! :panic:



#9 concert andy

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:52 PM

necrophiliac zombie mice! :panic:

 

mmm, free food.



#10 Jam Fan

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:55 PM

was this idea from the same people who made the "bat bomb" in WW2?



#11 Deadshow Dan

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 12:44 AM

I believe the plan is for the mice to be already dead when they drop them.

The dead mice will be dead?    :afro:

 

My friend in Guam things the whole thing is gross  "Ewww"



#12 nancykind

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 12:48 AM

i'm surprised peta hasn't freaked out yet



#13 HABIT

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 12:31 PM

snakes don't eat dead animals do they? I always thought you had to feed a snake a live pinkie.



#14 nancykind

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:21 PM

ahem:

 

"Dead mice are attractive to snakes only for 2-3 days. After this time, and owing to the tropical climate, the lure is no longer available."



#15 Java Time

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:12 PM

Is there a large population of dead mice in Guam to utilize?

Or do they have to import them from China?


Couldn't this possibly make the dead mice extinct like many bird species in Guam?


SAVE THE DEAD MICE POPULATON!!! VOTE NO TO "CRUELTY " TO OUR FURRY LITTLE DEAD MICE FRIENDS!!! VOTE NO! :joker:

#16 nikkiblue

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:18 PM

snakes are really nasty.  Whatever it takes... 



#17 Java Time

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:43 PM

i'm surprised peta hasn't freaked out yet

There isn't a big enough market for tree snakes or dead mice...PETA likes to see their likenesses in print and video. If they were dropping dead Perdue or Tyson chickens into an area to rid them of coyotes...they'd be all over it. Prolly

#18 cdrhead

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:04 AM

Strange idea.....seems like a bad one to me but if not many other animals will be harmed then who knows. Couldn't be any worse than...hey lets let coyotes loose in the city of Chicago to curb the rat population.....right?



#19 hoagie

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:46 AM

cann humans catch a buzz from eating these mice?  Id try it...

 

whatr kind of painkillers are in them?hmmm



#20 insolent cur

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:10 AM

Some readers in the comments thread have expressed surprise that snakes would eat dead — not live — mice. This research paper posted online by the Agriculture Department indicates that in earlier tests, the snakes did devour "dead neonatal mice adulterated with 80-mg acetaminophen" and that the "baiting" with laced mice was effective in killing the snakes.

The researchers also concluded that "other tactics to increase area of coverage and decrease labor costs, such as aerial application of baits, would improve the cost efficiency of the baiting method over trapping even further."

 

.http://www.npr.org/b...mpaign=20130222

 

 

cann humans catch a buzz from eating these mice?  Id try it...

 

whatr kind of painkillers are in them?hmmm

 

rif. ;)



#21 wonka

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:08 PM

was this idea from the same people who made the "bat bomb" in WW2?

 

batman208.jpg



#22 Baidarka

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:30 PM



#23 Julius

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:45 PM

I'm amazed that the equivalent of 1/6 of an extra strength Tylenol is so deadly to huge tree snakes. 



#24 Java Time

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:48 PM

Does it work like alka-seltza to swans? :eek1: