2,000 Dead Mice: Mice Dropped On Guam Part Of An $8 Million U.S. Program To Eradicate Snakes Invasion

By on Dec 4, 2013 in Animals, Science, United States Comments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture dropped a group of 2,000 dead mice over Andersen Air Force Base in the U.S. territory of Guam on Sunday, December 1, 2013. This is to eradicate the estimated 2 million brown tree snakes that have devastated the island’s bird population and are responsible for millions of dollars worth of damage to electrical equipment at Andersen Air Force Base.

NBC News reports that the 2,000 mice dropped on Guam were pumped full of acetaminophen that is usually used to treat headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, and even the common cold. However, snakes are too sensitive with it that a mere 80 milligrams of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol can kill them.

“One reason acetaminophen is so effective for snakes is that its very low toxicity to other organisms. Of all the organisms in the forest to be concerned about the monitor lizards, the iguanas is probably the one that is potentially at risk but because the baits are hung up in the forest canopy and not distributed on the floor the monitors aren’t going to encounter the baits with great frequency the monitors climb trees but they tend not to feed in trees,” Daniel Vice, the U.S. Agriculture Department‘s assistant supervisory wildlife biologist for Guam said in a report.

New York Daily News report says that the mice are dropped in a time sequence from low-flying helicopters. Each rodent were floated down from the sky strung up to a tiny parachute made of cardboard and tissue paper.

“The process is quite simple,” Daniel Vice told KUAM. “The helicopter is going to make low altitude flights over the forest at relatively slow speeds they’re going to be certified pesticide applicators inside the helicopter delivering the baits out of the helicopter on a time sequence. The cardboard is heavier than the tissue paper and opens up in an inverted horse shoe. It then floats down and ultimately hangs up in the forest canopy. Once its hung in the forest canopy snakes have an opportunity to consume the bait,”

The mice dropped mission on Sunday was the fourth and biggest mice air dropped, according to NBC News. It’s part of an $8 million U.S. program approved in February to eradicate the snakes and save the exotic native birds that became their snack food.

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