Possible cure for snake threat

For the past couple of decades, Hawaii has leerily watched Guam fight a losing battle against the brown tree snake.

The snakes have wiped out native bird species, caused power outages, bitten humans and, in general, have been very unwelcome guests in the territory. Hawaii has feared the snakes will hitch rides on planes and bring their devastation here.

The wire service story said there may be as many as 2 million brown tree snakes on Guam. According to The Associated Press, through vigilance by authorities there has not been a brown tree snake seen in Hawaii in 17 years.

But, with that many of the slithering reptiles, the threat persists, and a new effort in Guam to attack the snakes is welcome news here.

Beginning in April or May, dead mice dosed with acetaminophen will be dropped in the jungle canopy the snakes call home. The AP story said that, unlike other snakes, the brown tree variety doesn’t mind eating prey it hasn’t killed. And, acetaminophen is highly toxic to the snakes.

Although the goal of the program is to control – not completely eradicate – the snakes, any thinning out of Guam’s deadly herd is good news here. We’d like to see the population brought down to three or four, preferably in cages in zoos.

Hawaii officials will be watching the experiment closely. It would be a welcome relief if a few thousand Tylenol could cure Guam’s brown tree snake headache.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.