Friday, December 3, 2010

The Invasion of the Brown Tree Snake

I've often heard of foreign animals invading Australia and wreaking havoc on the indigenous fauna.    Today I learned of an animal doing the opposite...being from Australia, and becoming an invasive species elsewhere.

I saw this clip on the Australian Screen website.  Then I went to consult Lord Wiki.   He says the snake is native to Australia, Papa New Guinea, and nearby islands.  Then after World War II, it accidentally got shipped to Guam. Oops. Lord Wiki says it was probably a stowaway.  Now it's killed a lot of Guam birds.

It's caused other problems as well. And it tries to escape to other places. It's even been found in Texas. Yikes.

The good new is it's not overly dangerous to humans.  It's venom isn't strong enough, at least not for adults.

This blog has a post about how dogs are used to detect the snakes, and prevent them from traveling abroad.  It says that 10 out of 13 native bird species have gone extinct because of the snakes.    That's sad.