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Poisoned dead mice thrown from helicopter to kill snakes

By Mason White 11:03 AM December 5, 2013
Brown tree snake illustration 

By: Moses Gold
(Scroll down for video) It was raining mice, according to witnesses at the scene.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that 2,000 mice, which were spiked with acetaminophen, were launched on the territory of Guam, to poison invasive brown tree snakes.

Tino Aguon, the acting chief of the U.S. Guam Department of Agriculture, said that the 2,000 dead mice were each spiked with 80 milligrams of Tylenol, far less than the 500 mg found in a standard pill. The mice were parachuted from a helicopter in the area around Anderson Air Force Base to poison the brown tree snakes.

Aguon said that the poisoned mice technique has been used more than three times in the past in Guam, as part of an $8 million program intended to kill off the snakes, which first arrived on Guam during the 1950s.

The government also wants to protect the populations of exotic native birds, which are harmed by the snakes.

“Whenever there is a technique that is tested and shows promise, we jump on the band wagon, promote it and help facilitate its implementation,” Aguon said.

Some of the mice were equipped with small radios that transmit data to help officials gauge the effectiveness of the technique, officials said.