The tiny island nation of Guam faces a big problem...the country is infested with up to two million snakes!
The US territory, in the western Pacific, is only 50km (30 miles) long and 10km wide, but it is jam-packed with as many as 2 million of the slithering serpents. The infestation can be traced back to World War II, when it is believed the brown tree snake, a native of northern Australia and Papua New Guinea, was brought to the island on ships carrying equipment to be processed in Guam. More than likely, a snake or two were stowaways on one or more of the transport ships, and decided to make Guam its permanent residence!
Over the years, the mildly-venomous snake exploded in population and increasingly became a menace. The snakes have decimated 10 out of Guam's 12 native bird species in the past 30 years, and are now preying on small mammals and native lizards, threatening even more species with extinction!
Guam is now having to fight back to reclaim the land and to prevent the snakes from wiping out all of the indigenous wildlife. Mice laced with acetaminophen, a drug commonly used as a pain reliever, are being airlifted and then parachuted across the jungles as a food source for the snakes. The drug, harmless to humans in safe doses, is toxic to the snakes after they consume the mice.
The snakes are not only threatening local animal species, they are also wreaking havoc by showing up in people's beds and causing blackouts so frequently that power outages are known locally as "brown outs."