Something about this just does not sound like a good idea. In the coming months, toxic mice will rain down on the jungles in Guam. They are the solution to the intrusion of the brown tree snake which has wiped out much of Guam’s native bird species after first arriving on the island in U.S. naval ships after World War II. With an estimated 2 million of the snakes on the island, the military has decided to carpet bomb the island with dead mice laced with lethal painkillers. Italy carpet bombed one its islands with poison to combat a similar rat problem. The brown tree snakes have been cutting power lines and even biting residents. However, there is the obvious problem of other animals eating the mice. To reduce this problem, the scientists have developed a flotation device with streamers designed to catch in the branches of the forest foliage, where the snakes live and feed. Yet, if anything goes wrong, we have replaced a brown tree snake problem with an army of airborne paratrooping zombie toxic mice with addiction problems.
Daniel Vice, assistant state director of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services in Hawaii, Guam, and the Pacific Islands insists that “[t]here really is no other place in the world with a snake problem like Guam.” U.S. officials are worried that the snakes will make it to Hawaii and devastate the ecosystem.
The toxic mice are loaded with acetaminophen, the active ingredient in painkillers including Tylenol. It turns out that the snakes are highly vulnerable to acetaminophen. The mice will be dropped one-by-one from helicopters around Anderson Air Force base at the start of the program.
The scientists has stated that the greatest danger is that the birds would eat the mice, but they are already virtually gone anyway. That seems like a curious argument since an infestation of toxic mice is certainly not going to help those that remain — or other creatures. However, officials insist that these are desperate measures for a desperate time. The threat to Hawaii has been put in the hundreds of millions if the snakes are able to hitchhike on a few U.S. transports — environmental horror sequel to “Snakes On A Plane.”
So, as our latest travel advisory, if you plan to be hiking in Guam, you might want to watch the reports to avoid the toxic mice showers.