Watch out below! If you are planning on hiking through Guam’s jungles anytime soon, think twice before lacing up your hiking boots. NBC News reports that toxic mice are about to be air dropped on Guam to kill the venomous brown tree snake. Wildlife specialists have laced the dead mice with painkillers in the hope that the tiny critters kill off the poisonous reptiles.
NBC News notes that the majority of the island’s native bird species are extinct because of the brown tree snakes, which were unknowingly brought to the island by U.S. military ships after the end of World War II. The U.S. Geological Survey adds that the population of brown tree snakes has reached “unprecedented” numbers on Guam due to the abundance of prey and the absence of natural predators and other forms of population control.
In addition to wiping out most of Guam’s native bird species, the brown tree snakes have also caused thousands of power outages, the widespread loss of domestic birds and pets and significant emotional trauma to residents and tourists when the snakes venture into human dwellings.
The U.S. Geological Survey says that brown tree snakes are typically 3-6 feet in length, but have been known to grow to lengths of more than 10 feet on Guam. The snake is long and slender, which allows the reptile to sneak into buildings where it rests during the daylight hours.
With as many as 2 million brown tree snakes on island, wildlife officials are crossing their fingers that the toxic mice will work their magic. Officials in Hawaii, according to NBC News, are also concerned that the snakes could overrun the popular tourist destination.
“We are taking this to a new phase,” Daniel Vice, assistant state director of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services in Hawaii, Guam, and the Pacific Islands, told NBC News. “There really is no other place in the world with a snake problem like Guam.”