Friday, November 9, 2007

Concern of Snakes in Hawaii

The brown tree snake is a nocturnal and arboreal snake that ranges from eastern Indonesia to the Solomon Islands and northern Australia. After World War II it was accidentally introduced to Guam, apparently as a hitchhiker on military cargo.

In the next 30 years, it spread so fast that 9 of the 12 forest birds were extinct, along with half of the lizard species, and perhaps some bats. The brown tree snake is not dangerous to adult humans, but on Guam there have been many cases where the snakes have crept into cribs and envenomated infants.

The island's previously thriving poultry industry has been devastated because the snake crawls into coops and eats the eggs and chicks. Many pet dogs and cats have been lost in a similar fashion. There are power outages because of the snakes also.

Because it has a similar climate and fauna, Hawaii could expect to suffer many of the same negative ecological and economic consequences that Guam has if the brown tree snake were to become established. The USDA are working to find a solution. Read more.

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