To make a dent in brown snake populations, feed them poison-stuffed mice; to devastate brown snake populations, create robots to do the job for you. That’s what conservationists want to do in Guam to stop these pesky reptiles from further destroying the native bird population. The robots would have to stuff mice with 80 milligrams of acetaminophen (poisonous to snakes), glue the mice to cardboard strips, and then attach paper streamers to these monstrosities—all so that these modern day Trojan horses get lodged in the snake’s forest canopy when they’re lobbed out of airplanes (and hopefully wind up in a snake’s tummy).
But that’s not all the the mischief that robots have been up to recently:
The USDA and the EPA are in cahoots, scheming against Guam’s invasive brown tree snakes, or are they throwing a party?
Using streamers, cardboard, some acetaminophen (aka Tylenol, aka hangover medicine), some dead mice and a helicopter, the team is looking to destroy the island’s invasive snake population.
Guam has only two snake populations. The first is the island’s only other snake: a tiny, blind worm-like little guy. The second, and more obvious, is the invasive tree snake, which is mildly venomous, can reach 11 feet long, and can be found at up to 12,000 snakes per square mile. The native snake is no competition for this invasive beast, which was introduced to the island in the early 1950’s and quickly decimated native forest species, including all of the forests vertebrates.
It has also invaded the homes of the island’s human inhabitants, causing power outages by messing with electrical systems and biting and scaring people in their sleep. (And there is not much more scary than a snake biting you in your sleep.) The USDA and EPA have been working for decades to solve this problem, but nothing was working.