Anderson Air Force Base in the U.S. territory of Guam has been under attack since 1950. This week, finally they called in commandos who were parachuted into the region and took care of the attackers. A total of two thousand commandos took part in this operation and landed onto the territory using cardboard parachutes. Wait, what? Cardboard parachutes and used by Commandos, what the heck is going on here? Oh yeah, we missed out on a few important details, didn’t we? Okay, time to come clean we suppose. Anderson Air Force has been experiencing a problem in shape of snakes. These brown snakes have been killing local native birds and also causing financial losses. Almost 80 times a year, these brown snakes get entangled in electricity transmission lines and result in huge electrical breakdowns. The result? Almost 4 million dollars in repairs and lost productivity.
Since hiring Samuel L. Jackson was not an option, they went for another technique which involved 2,000 dead mice. These mice had Tylenol in them, a painkiller, which can eradicate the snakes in this region. The invasion of brown snakes in this region began in 1950 when they managed to get shipped off here due to lack of a proper cargo check and have multiplied ever since resulting in astonishing numbers; 2 million reptiles are reportedly present in Guam area whereas the concentration at some areas reaches 13,000 per square mile. That’s more than the Amazon Forest!
Acting chief of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s wildlife resources office for Guam, Tino Aguon said; ‘Every time there is a technique that is tested and shows promise, we jump on that bandwagon and promote it and help out and facilitate its implementation.’ This commando strike was a part of $8million program designed to help get rid of snakes and safeguard birds which are becoming their food.
The idea for getting rid of them via painkillers is a feasible one since they are extremely sensitive to acetaminophen which as it turns out, is an active ingredient in common painkillers. A mere 80mg of it is enough to kill a tree snake whereas other animals can survive up to 500 dead mice pumped full of painkiller. Brown snakes love to devour mice and hence this is a perfect trap for them. Mr. Dan Vice, the Agriculture Department’s assistant supervisory wildlife biologist for Guam, says; ‘The process is quite simple. The cardboard is heavier than the tissue paper and opens up in an inverted horseshoe. It then floats down and ultimately hangs up in the forest canopy. Once it’s hung in the forest canopy, snakes have an opportunity to consume the bait’
The mice have also been fitted with radio transmitters to analyze and calculate the efficiency of this method.