Saturday, February 23, 2013

U.S. To Bomb Guam With Poison Mice To Combat Snakes

If you needed more proof that the United States is a leader in weaponry innovation, here it is:

We're going to bomb Guam, a U.S. territory, with toxic, poison mice, according to the Associated Press
Dropping poisoned mice on Guam
might solve a snake problem.  
Yes, it sounds like this is one of those snarky "Your tax dollars at work" attack on government waste, but this actually sounds like it might be for a good cause.

The poison mice, raining down from the skys, will seem like manna from heaven to the invasive brown tree snakes that have pretty much wiped out the bird population on Guam. That is until the snakes, having eaten the poison mice as if they were at a giant rodent buffet, get sick and die.

I like this line from the AP story:

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

So, I guess Tylenol is good for my headache, but bad for brown snakes. I wonder if the mice have headaches that get cured before they die from acetaminophen poisoning.

The plan is pretty brilliant in that the scientists are taking care not to hurt other animals. The toxic mouse bombs have stuff attached to them so that they get hung up in the trees when they fall, so the tree snakes get them, but the rodents don't make it to the ground, where they could otherwise harm other wildlife.

As for hurting birds on Guam with the toxic mice, that's no problem. The tree snakes have already killed all of the birds,  so poison mice aren't a problem in that regard.

I just wonder what happens to the dead snakes after they've eaten the Tylenol flavored mice. On second thought, maybe I don't want to know.

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