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Govt To Bomb Guam With Frozen Mice To Kill Snakes 229

rhettb writes "In a spectacularly creative effort to rid Guam of the brown tree snake, an invasive species which has ravaged local wildlife and angered local residents, the US Department of Agriculture is planning to 'bomb' the island's rainforests with dead frozen mice laced with acetaminophen. While it might not seem difficult to purge an island of snakes, the snake's habit of dwelling high in the rainforest canopy has so far thwarted efforts to rid the island of the pest. Eradicating the snake is a priority because it triggers more than 100 power outages a year at a cost of $1-4 million and has driven at least 6 local bird species to extinction."
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Govt To Bomb Guam With Frozen Mice To Kill Snakes

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  • Re:Acetaminophen (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @10:54AM (#33747180) Journal

    I guess all those warnings about how Tylenol can damage your liver are true!

    But this will only work if the snakes were drinking the night before!

  • Won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @11:07AM (#33747424) Journal

    Most snakes won't eat carrion. The prey has to be moving to trigger hunting, and then feeding behavior.

  • Re:Acetaminophen (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Achra ( 846023 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @11:30AM (#33747714) Journal

    Cannabis is an effective and non-toxic analgesic. Every medicine cabinet should have some cannabis extract for general aches and pains, insomnia, stomach upset, and many other mild ailments.

    Many other mild ailments.. uh huh, like boredom? Never mind that it's habit forming as hell. ;) (And also never mind that the GP specifically mentions safety during pregnancy... lol).

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @11:33AM (#33747764)

    Probably not. The snake will die after its liver wears itself out breaking down the Acetaminophen. All that will be left in the snake is a worn-out liver and non-toxic Acetaminophen metabolites.

          Actually, acetaminophen is not toxic, but one of its metabolites, NAPQI (N-acetyl-p-benzo-quinone imine) is the one that does the damage by depleting the body's supply of glutathione which is a necessary chemical for many liver reactions. The rapid depletion of glutathione causes liver cells to become exposed to damage from free radicals and other, regular body toxins that would normally be metabolized. This is why acetaminophen toxicity is characteristic for causing centri-lobular necrosis - cells closest to the branch of the portal vein (And hence exposed to the highest concentrations of Acetaminophen-->NAPQI) tend to die first, cells further away tend to hang on to greater supplies of glutathione and survive to process the remaining NAPQI.

    Since I'm a medical doctor and not a vet I am unaware as to the specific toxicity mechanism in cats and snakes, but it probably also has to do with this toxic NAPQI metabolite.

    Insofar as your argument I would venture that the dead snakes would be full of NAPQI, an unhealthy surprise for any critter eating them that was unable to metabolize this chemical.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2010 @11:34AM (#33747782)

    TFA says they're gluing the frozen mice to sheets of cardboard so they get stuck in the trees. Biodegradable? Eventually, I suppose.

    Really, it wasn't a very long article.

  • Re:Acetaminophen (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Achra ( 846023 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:00PM (#33748142) Journal

    It's not physically addictive at all, and no more habit-forming than anything else that's fun.

    Bullshit. This is a classic line espoused by chronic marijuana users. The fact is that when you quit, most people experience anxiety, extreme agitation, loss of appetite, and even nightmares for several days afterwards.

  • Re:Acetaminophen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adavies42 ( 746183 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:05PM (#33748190)

    I get that when I turn off the air conditioner. Does that make cold air addictive?

  • Re:Acetaminophen (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:09PM (#33748214)

    Thank you.. you made a crazy claim and you realized everyone would call bullshit.. so you included a source... thank you for the source. I wish more people here would include a source.

  • Re:Acetaminophen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:39PM (#33748670) Homepage Journal

    Trust me, I've seen it. You're thinking of attention like "famous person" attention, or something you'd see in a movie. Mundane, everyday clinical depression doesn't work that way -- the need for attention is a subconscious thing, not a purposeful attempt.

    Someone who's depressed doesn't say "Oh, I need attention, I'll do something stupid today". It's more like the childhood verse: "Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I'm going to eat a worm."

    That's why OD'ing on Tylenol is a case of "Suicide in haste, repent at leisure". If it's too late for the antidote, you get plenty of time to realize what a dumb thing you did as you wait for a transplant (in a hospital under psych watch).

  • by dna_(c)(tm)(r) ( 618003 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:43PM (#33748740)

    Balanced eco-system + imported snake = Threatened wildlife

    Balanced eco-system + imported snake + poison = Balanced eco-system - anything that eats dead mice

    It's like throwing a molotov-cocktail in a car to remove tissues after you had a severe cold. You never know what the collateral damage might be.

  • Re:Acetaminophen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @12:52PM (#33748896) Homepage

    Well, I take it back. There's definitely evidence that truly chronic users (like, regular, daily users) experience some amount of withdrawl after cessation. 'course, when you start to think about it, that makes sense, as you're no longer taking a sleep aid or an appetite stimulant, and so your body reacts accordingly, with insomnia and appetite loss.

  • Re:Won't work (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 30, 2010 @01:16PM (#33749286)

    Fear, uncertainty and doubt? I mean, if he said, "The snakes won't eat the mice! We're all going to die!!" your accusation would make sense. Uncertainty, yes, but perfectly warrented given his knowledge of other snakes.

  • Re:Acetaminophen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @02:05PM (#33750160) Journal

    People are jumping down your throat, but there's an element of truth to what you said. THC withdrawal exists, but it's mild, pretty difficult to induce, and would not be relevant to OTC use. You really have to try hard to consume enough THC to cause habituation. I only ever experienced withdrawal symptoms after smoking pot constantly for weeks on end. Even then it was nothing more than a little irritability and difficulty sleeping for a couple days. These days I still smoke a lot of pot, but only during the evenings and weekends. When I run out it doesn't bother me at all.

    It's worth pointing out that there are several OTC drugs that cause withdrawal symptoms that are more severe than those from THC. Ever have a cold and take Afrin for a week? When you quit, there's a rebound effect (aka withdrawal symptoms). That rebound effect is far more unpleasant than THC withdrawal. The same goes for Benadryl. Then, of course, there's caffeine. Going THC free is no big deal for me (in fact I'm about 5 days out right now), going caffeine free scares the shit out of me.

    So you see, THC withdrawal exists but it's no big deal. It's well within the range of acceptable risks for OTC products.

  • by __roo ( 86767 ) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @02:14PM (#33750300) Homepage

    It worked really well in Brooklyn [].

  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Thursday September 30, 2010 @10:44PM (#33755378) Homepage Journal

    But they can use the "power outages" excuse to justify the cost, and possibly even fund the effort. Saving birds from extinction has popular appeal but doesn't have a "return on investment" in the classic economic sense, so it takes much more effort to fund it (volunteers, donations, conservation groups, scientific studies, etc.) But presenting it to the executives as "we'll solve your four million dollar snake problem for only a few thousand dollars" is a no-brainer.

    And yes, I know this is being done by the U.S. Government, and they love nothing better than spending my money, but if the line item in the budget says "($3,900,000), savings due to spending $100,000 to kill snakes causing $4,000,000 in annual damage" then some senator will no doubt claim wins to both parties: "I'm prudent, I saved $3.9 million dollars" and "I'm green, I helped save six endangered species."

Why won't sharks eat lawyers? Professional courtesy.