Drug-filled Mice Airdropped Over Guam to Kill Snakes

Miss Cellania 0
OK, the snakes are not supposed to be there, and the mice are not suffering from or enjoying the drugs because it's Tylenol and they're dead anyway. The brown tree snake is native to Australia, but hitched a ride to Guam after World War II and became so invasive that some native wildlife species were driven to extinction. The government has tried many methods to control the snake population, but nothing has worked well so far. Now they are planting dead mice with 80 milligrams of acetaminophen stuffed inside in the jungle areas of Guam. Brown tree snakes will scavenge dead animals, unlike most snakes, and even a child's dose of acetaminophen will kill one.
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.

In humans, acetaminophen helps soothe aches, pains, and fevers. But when ingested by brown tree snakes, the drug disrupts the oxygen-carrying ability of the snakes' hemoglobin blood proteins.

"They go into a coma, and then death," said Peter Savarie, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services, which has been developing the technique since 1995 through grants from the U.S. Departments of Defense and Interior.

Some of the mice are equipped with radio transmitters, so the success of the program can be tracked. Link -Thanks, Marilyn Terrell!

(Image credit: George Grall/National Geographic)

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