US to Shower Guam With Dead Toxic Mice

PETA not pleased with snake-minded move
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2013 9:29 AM CST
US to Shower Guam With Dead Toxic Mice

The US has a plan to deal with Guam's overwhelming snake population, and it's not sitting well with animal rights activists: In April or May, dead mice stuffed with acetaminophen will be parachuted into Guam. As the AP explains, the plan is built around the brown tree snakes' two main weaknesses: They'll chow down on prey they didn't kill themselves and are highly vulnerable to the painkiller (it's the active ingredient in Tylenol). And by attaching the mice to parachutes, which will be dropped by hand one at a time, researchers say they'll lodge in trees, away from other animals.

The mice drop has been attempted before, but a Department of Agriculture official says that now, "We are taking this to a new phase. There really is no other place in the world with a snake problem like Guam." That's because the snakes, which invaded the island during World War II via military ships in the South Pacific, have killed off most of the island's native bird species, are dinging tourism, and could do serious financial harm should they make their way to Hawaii. But PETA is not happy, the Guardian reports. The plan is a cruel one, it says, because death by renal and liver failure "could take days or even weeks." (More Guam stories.)

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