I like to share stories with y’all that leave me with more questions than answers. Why? Perhaps y’all might be thinking the same thing or y’all might have the answers I seek. Sometimes the story is just too damn bizarre not to share with y’all. So, my basic questions are these. One, what does it look like when it’s raining 2000 dead mice? Two, how does 2000 individual mice feed the expected 2 million brown snakes? Three, am I too believe that only the targeted brown snakes will eat this free meal that has fallen from the sky? Four, what will the collateral damage to other species of wildlife or humans be? Five, how would you react if you looked up and saw a real life dead mouse plague raining down on you? Gives new reasons never to look up with your mouth open, doesn’t it?
Anyway, here’s the story that has me having way too many questions.
Back in the 1950s, brown tree snakes arrived in Guam, and thought “Ah, paradise.” They have thrived on the small island, which is now home to something like 2 million of them — much to the chagrin of local birds and the U.S. military, which has to deal with regular snake-caused power failures at the Andersen Air Force Base. So the Air Force is sending in the mice. NBC News reports:
They floated down from the sky Sunday — 2,000 mice, wafting on tiny cardboard parachutes … the rodent commandos didn’t know they were on a mission: to help eradicate the brown tree snake, an invasive species that has caused millions of dollars in wildlife and commercial losses since it arrived a few decades ago. That’s because they were dead. And pumped full of painkillers.
Brown tree snakes have two weakness: tasty mice and acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. For the snakes, acetaminophen is fatal. So the military dosed the dead mice with the drug and blanketed the forest with them. Ideally, the snakes will eat the drugged mice and die. And the dead mice will be memorialized forever in this unlikely triumph of prey over predator.
Original story & picture found @ Grist.org
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