The Mouse That Snored

Drugged parachuting mice go for the kill versus the brown snakes

They floated down from the sky Sunday – 2,000 mice, wafting on tiny cardboard parachutes over Andersen Air Force Base in the U.S. territory of Guam.

But 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.

… But brown tree snakes have an Achilles’ heel: Tylenol.

For some reason, the snakes are almost uniquely sensitive to acetaminophen, the active ingredient in the ubiquitous over-the-counter painkiller. If you can get a tree snake to eat just 80 milligrams, you can kill it. That’s only about one-sixth of a standard pill – pigs, dogs and other similarly sized animals would have to eat about 500 of them to get into any trouble.

Sounds like the plot of a bad Donald Sutherland movie from the 60s.

6 Responses to “The Mouse That Snored”

  1. Rob says:

    From the comments:

    “If the mice are already dead, why the parachutes?”

  2. Kathy Kinsley says:

    Wonder if it will even work. I like snakes; I’ve had snakes as pets. They seem to prefer (strongly) live prey.

  3. Greg Newsom says:

    Thanks for the info. The reports say many native birds are extinct, or nearly extinct due to the infestation of the tree snake. The question is: Why
    did the authorities wait so long
    to attack the problem? Isn’t like draining the swamp after your up to your ass in alligators?

  4. Fausta says:

    Proving, once again, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  5. Syd B. says:

    The biggest tree snake of them all is currently in the Whitehouse. I wonder…..

  6. Kathy Kinsley says:

    Yeah – but he doesn’t eat mice. He eats Republicans and Libertarians.

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