2K Dead Mice Dropped on Guam's Snake War

They're packed with Tylenol to kill invasive creatures

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 3, 2013 11:41 AM CST

(Newser) – Guam has a new weapon in its war against brown tree snakes: an army of Tylenol-filled dead mice. The creatures have been dropped onto a US Air Force base using miniature cardboard parachutes, NBC News reports. The snakes, an invasive species, feast on exotic local birds and cause power outages, resulting in millions of dollars of damage every year, according to the Interior Department. Early this year, the US approved an $8 million program to wipe out the snakes; the mice dropped yesterday were the fourth batch—the biggest one yet.

The creatures probably arrived on the island in the 1950s in a cargo shipment that was poorly inspected. So how to get rid of them? Well, they can't handle the acetaminophen that's in Tylenol; a sixth of a pill will knock one dead. Officials are spreading the Tylenol-filled mice, tied to cardboard and tissue paper, across the base via helicopter. "The cardboard is heavier than the tissue paper and opens up in an inverted horseshoe," says an Agriculture official. "It then floats down and ultimately hangs up in the forest canopy." Then "snakes have an opportunity to consume the bait." To keep track of things, some of the mice also have miniscule radios attached.

In this photo taken Feb. 5, 2013, a US military service member holds a Brown Tree Snake kept in captivity on Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam.
In this photo taken Feb. 5, 2013, a US military service member holds a Brown Tree Snake kept in captivity on Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam.   (AP Photo/Eric Talmadge)
In this file photo released by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a brown tree snake is seen in Guam.
In this file photo released by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a brown tree snake is seen in Guam.   (AP Photo/US Fish and Wildlife Service, Gordon Roda, File)
In this photo taken on Feb. 5, 2013, a brown tree snake is held by US Department of Agriculture wildlife specialist Tony Salas outside his office on Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam.
In this photo taken on Feb. 5, 2013, a brown tree snake is held by US Department of Agriculture wildlife specialist Tony Salas outside his office on Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam.   (AP Photo/Eric Talmadge)
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