The brown tree snake has caused lots of harm to many people. The boiga irregularis (brown tree snake) is a mildly venomous snake that has taken over homes. It can grow to 3-6 feet. It is native to Indonesia, Australia, and Papua New Guinea. It was first detected in Guam in the 1950s. By around 1968 the brown tree snakes had successfully spread all over Guam. The only benefit of this snake is that it has helped rid Guam of certain lizards. The brown tree snake is more known for its threats.
It is accountable for a huge reduction in Guam’s biodiversity. It has killed many of the native forest birds in Guam. The brown tree snake has killed many important animals in Guam like the flying fox and the fruit bat. However they don’t stop there they also threaten some Guam’s power. Since 1978 the brown tree snake is responsible for over 1,200 power outages by climbing on high voltage power lines. If they bite a young kid their bite is non-fatal however it can cause severe sickness. Even though they impose many threats there are people trying to control the situation.
There are multiple control methods in place for the elimination of the brown tree snake. People are putting up traps and barriers. There are many agencies that are available for help. In Guam there is the Brown Tree Snake Rapid Response Team that will help detain and kill the snake. You can also call the Pest Hotline from Hawaii that will kill the snake and record data about it. There is also plenty of research being done on the brown tree snake.
In 1992 the Department of Defense was allowed $1 million for research to understand and control the brown tree snake better. At this time there are dog teams in Honolulu that are used for detecting the snakes. The overall costs of detection and control is projected at about $2.5 million dollars every year. Under the Federal Lacey Act it is illegal to import, export, or even transfer the brown tree snake between states without a permit.
Haldre Rogers is conducting a lot of research on these snakes and the harm they cause. “The brown tree snake has often been used as a textbook example for the negative impacts of invasive species, but after the loss of birds no one has looked at the snake’s indirect effects,” said Rogers. The reason the snake’s population density is so high is because it has very few predators on Guam. Before the brown tree snake was introduced Guam had 12 species of native forest birds and now 10 of those are currently extinct on an island that is only 30 miles long and 5 to 15 miles wide. Hopefully with all of the current research we will be able to stop this vile snake that has threatened so much wildlife.
Could you live your life normally with the threats of brown tree snakes?
How big of a threat do you think brown tree snakes cause?
How could you help control the spread of brown tree snakes?