Bombing Guam with dead mice

 Wikipedia Commons C C9 Brown Tree Snake Boiga Irregularis 2 Usgs Photograph
The US Department of Agriculture is bombing Naval Base Guam with dead mice stuffed with generic Tylenol and transponders. Their aim is to kill off the non-native brown tree snakes that are killing off the island's birds and also become ensnared in power lines causing black-outs. From CNN:
Since scientists discovered that the household pain reliever was deadly to the brown tree snakes, they’ve been trying to figure out how to get it to where many of the serpents live in the canopies of the island’s forests, according to a report in Stars & Stripes. The Tylenol-loaded mice are attached to two pieces of cardboard joined by paper streamers that snake exterminators hope will catch on tree branches, providing deadly snacks for snakes at those heights, according to the Stripes report.

The aerial attack on the tree snakes is designed to augment current trapping systems, which are placed around ports and airports to prevent the snakes from hitching rides to other Pacific islands such as Hawaii and causing the same ecological nightmares they’ve been responsible for on Guam...

If the current the experiment works – scientists will know because they’re also packing the dead mice with radio transmitters for the snakes to ingest – death from above will be coming for snakes at the island’s Anderson Air Base next year, according to Guam Newswatch. Success there could see the program expand island-wide.

Tylenol-loaded mice dropped from air to control snakes (via Submitterator, thanks rkachowski!)

The Brown Treesnake on Guam (USGS)


  1. Let’s ‘Tylenol-loaded mice attached to two pieces of cardboard joined by paper streamers’-bomb them from orbit.

    It’s the only way to be sure.

  2. Oh come one, this is WAY to simplistic! Those snakes will just find a way to neutralize the tylenol with an antidote!

    THINK, people!

  3. This will only result in some sort of Tylenol-immune super snake. It’s like something from our nightmares.

  4. Ah military naivete. Snakes want to hunt not eat dead mice stuffed like thanksgiving turkeys with tylenol and flung out of a plane attached to cardboard and streamers.

    I can almost guarantee you that this will back fire in some odd way(like reviving cargo-cults which may just prove to be somewhat hilarious but problematic) or just not work or work too well. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

    I am sort of pulling for cargo-cult though, millions of snakes dressed in traditional garb building fake aircraft in the trees in hopes that the gods will deliver more deliciously analgesic sky-mice meals.

  5. Snakes want to hunt not eat dead mice stuffed like thanksgiving turkeys…

    I thought that was Tyrannosauruses.

  6. *facepalm*

    “Snakes are very selective about what they eat. They will often refuse to eat real bird eggs if they have been refrigerated, have been washed, or are below a typical body temperature of a bird. All of this suggests that the snakes use more than the appearance of potential prey when considering their next meal… snakes are extremely alert to the temperature, odor, and other chemical cues that help them discern real eggs from other objects that may be egg-shaped…”

    The traps they’re currently using have to be baited with live mice. What on earth makes the DoA think these snakes are going to eat cold dead mice? After they’ve been stuffed with Tylenol and tracking bugs, they won’t even smell like food. Might as well airdrop plushie toys. Or skip the mice and just write “Dear snakes, we wish you would all please die now, KTHX” on the paper streamers.

  7. My new expression of astonishment is Well stuff me with Tylenol and drop me on a tree snake.

  8. but this will just cause a terrifying explosion in the population of whatever horrible creature feasts exclusively on dead brown tree snakes!

  9. So if this doesn’t work, Guam will be littered with festive, streamer-adorned dead-rat piñatas? Sounds like a win either way.

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