Friday, December 23, 2016

Internet Factoid of the Year - 2016

In an article about the python invasion of the Florida Everglades, I found this factoid.

It seems that Guam was invaded by the Brown Tree Snake after the species was introduced by all of the naval cargo ships during World War II. The snakes nearly wiped out the native bird populations in the years that followed. 

But enterprising naturalists found a couple of ways to finally eliminate the snake threat and thereby create my nominee for Internet Factoid of the Year.

"During World War II, heavy ship traffic brought the non-native brown tree snake to the island. There had never been a snake species on that island before, and the local birds had no idea how to evade it. In the decades since, 12 native bird species have gone extinct.
“That really shows how we’ve underestimated these animals in the past,” Boback says. “It took literally 20 years for scientists to admit that the brown tree snake was established and was causing population declines of these birds.” 
Eventually, officials did figure out how to deal with the brown tree snake in Guam. They devised clever traps, baited with live mice, that the snakes could squirm into but couldn’t easily escape. More recently, people have injected dead mice with acetaminophen (Tylenol) — which is deadly to snakes — and fired the mice out of a helicopter into trees to bait and kill the snakes. Once an area is cleared of snakes, they can reintroduce bird species." (
My nominee for Internet Factoid of the Year: Tylenol laced dead mice fired into trees from helicopters.

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