Brown tree snakes are taking over Guam — in fact, they outnumber humans on the island 10 to 1, and they’ve taken a major toll on its ecosystem. The problem now has the U.S. government on the offensive, enlisting multiple government agencies, including the Department of Defense, to eradicate the invasive reptiles.
Since brown tree snakes are nocturnal, hunting them takes place at night. Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Geological Survey deploy groups of researchers to monitor traps and catch the snakes by hand. Catching them is a tedious process, but it’s crucial that the snakes be studied, and tracked, in order to develop effective control methods.
Brown tree snakes have been a problem for the U.S. territory of Guam since the 1950s, when they were introduced there, most likely from a military vessel coming back to port from a neighboring island. But it’s gotten to the level of forcing government action — to kill them, or at least keep them from getting off the island and causing the same problem somewhere else.
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