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back to article US forces drop dead drug-poison killer mice from helicopters

The United States military is waging war in the Pacific on invading jungle snakes - by dropping dead mice stuffed with household headache remedies on them from helicopters. Zombie mouse paratrooper in the War On Snakes. Credit: Peter Savarie/USGS In you go, Fluffy Stars and Stripes reports on the airborne murine drug-zombie …

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Coffee/keyboard

"airborne murine drug-zombie"

Excellent, made my morning.

Wonder how many grammar Nazis will be trotting out the "It's mArine you thickos..."

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Anonymous Coward

Shouldn't that be

"thickoes"

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Coat

I thank you...

> The snakes are thought to have reached Guam aboard military transports

So not so much 'snakes on a plane' as 'sneaks on a plane'

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Will they bite?

AFAIR, it is common practice to feed snakes with live animals, as many snakes will not touch already-dead animals nor pieces of meat. So, unless the tree snake is an exception to this, it will not bite.

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Stop

Not quite

No the mice doesn't have to be alive, hence why you can buy frozen chicks \ pinkies \ mice for warming up and feeding to your pet snake or reptile. In the UK theres legislation that prevents you from feeding live food to your pet snake \ reptile unless its a last resort and plenty of people keep them as pets!

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@ Torben Mogensen

In captivity, snakes can be trained to take dead food quite easily; Snakes are easier to keep as a pet compared to Lizards because the lizard generally only takes live food.

I would bet in the wild snakes will eat anything they can get their jaws around so long as it doesn't smell to decomposed - for example, a lot of snakes love an egg if they can find one.

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Anonymous Coward

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Surely they will have tested this first? Ah, wait, it's the US Army innit - so pehaps not.

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Silver badge
Joke

Ancient Jokes R Us

No, the real problem is whether the snakes can get to them before the parrots eat 'em all.

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Badgers

Not so

I thought that this only pertained to feeding live vertebrates, but seeming not so at all. A quick Google there is no such law, though there are laws surrounding duty of care to animals, and there is also the issue that prey animals can cause significant injury to a pet in the process of being consumed. Even for those that don't consider feeding using live animals cruel, there is always the consideration that you don't want your pet to become injured by its dinner.

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Pint

@ Christoph: That's...just...

AWFUL! Please leave immediately. And take your pint with you.

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Coat

@ Olafthemighty: My work here is done

Exits stage left, whistling the Angus Prune Tune.

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I agree...

...That joke was taking the hiss

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Coat

The Prune tune

Now that dates you (and me)....

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Coat

Parrots?

What? The Norwegian Blues?

They're busy pining for the fjords, and cannot be bothered at the moment.

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Paris Hilton

eggs ?

> a lot of snakes love an egg if they can find one.

sunny side up, I presume ?

Paris, coz she likes her eggs unfertilized.

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Absolutely

That's exactly what I thought: snakes don't eat dead mice (at least in all cases I know of), what are they thinking about?

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Badgers

This isn't going to work

Snakes use their smell and heat sense more that they do their eyes. The eyes being unable to focus, they also find it difficult to identify prey unless it is moving.

In my experience, its hard to get snake to eat something unless it is warm and moving. Feeding my corn snakes at home required me to warm a frozen mouse corpse in warm water, the dangle it about in front of the snake's nose.

Dropping cold dead mice into the tree canopy is unlike to attract many snakes, if you ask me.

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Boffin

Maybe.... maybe not....

These aren't corn snakes, and different snakes have different habits, I suspect that wild snakes are more likely to eat whatever they can find that smells about right, the big problem with domestic (captive bred) snakes is that their instincts are dampened by regular and unchallenging feeds, I never feed my snakes the same amount on the same day of the week, sometimes I let them gorge and sometimes I let them fast, this maintains their "strike" and you have to brumate them properly, taking the temp down during winter and feeding them less often rather than a steady temp all year and constant feeding (this is doubly important if you want to breed from them, I had 60 babies one year). My snakes (especially the anerythristic corns for some reason) would hapily eat a defrosted mouse just chucked in the viv, any movement and they'd have your arm off, but also they are OK to handle, as long as I don't smell of dead mouse (no big pointy teeth in the traditional sense, but fine razor sharp "ratchets" that can draw blood), so I assume the smell (taste) of the mouse is more important for a corn.

I guess what I'm trying to say is not that this will work, but it's wrong to say it isn't going to, after all, the feeding habits of king snakes (which are close enough to a corn to interbreed) prefer lizards to mice and other snakes only eat birds, there's some very good reasons why it will work, I suspect that it will as wild snakes are not as fussy (fussy snakes starve to death in the wild), oddly enough if it works this will wipe out the snakes which eat carion, leaving the fussy ones, so it will be a bit of selective breeding and not a complete solution anyway.

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bet your wrong

Snakes use their forked tongues to taste the air chemically to identify what is around them.

Their eyes are indeed (almost) useless in this regard.

Yes they can also detect heat very well, but the rely on their tongues for every day life, even sexual courtship/reproduction. Google Jacobson's organ.

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Unhappy

Tongues

Rumor has it that humans use them to for.....

Sig cos where is Paris when you need her?

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Joke

@Matt Bradley, snakes, falling mice and monkeys in trees...

@"Dropping cold dead mice into the tree canopy is unlike to attract many snakes, if you ask me."

But at least the monkeys get a free snack and no lasting headache after having dead mice dropped on their heads!

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@FreeTard

By smell sense I was oversimplifying, yes, they use their tongue and the jacobsens organ, but it amounts to essentially scent on the air which they are relying on. I was assuming that everybody knew that snakes "smell" with their tongues. :)

The key point is that heat, smell and movement are the key factors. None of which you'll really get with a cold dead mouse.

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Monkey hangover cures?

Maybe those monkeys partaking in a few too many "rotten fruits" might start hunting mice for hangover cures?

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Thumb Up

Beautifully-written article

This is why I come to the Register.

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Anonymous Coward

Weren't they planning the same trick in Afghanistan using pork pies?

A few of Melton Mobrey's finest left at bite hight.

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Happy

LOL!

Chortle.

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Pint

It's...

Melton Mowbray, home of the famous Melton Mowbary pork pie.

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Silver badge

Ha

Muphry strikes again

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Anonymous Coward

I heard they trialled this in Wigan

but ran out of pies.

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Anonymous Coward

Might not work

since Muslims (and therefore the Talaban) don't eat pork.

Other than that, I see no floor.

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@ac 15:03

Thats kind of the point. I don't think the snakes plan to eat poison either.

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Rob
Bronze badge
Headmaster

Sorry couldn't resist

... I see no roof, anyone seen the walls?

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Dead Vulture

Sasebo is in Japan

-- quote from Reg story--

According to Stars and Stripes, the first waves of dead killer mouse drug paratroopers went in to the jungles surrounding Sasebo Naval Base yesterday.

-- /quote --

Sasebo Naval base is in Japan, and it is from there that the story was filed, I assume. The jungles of Guam are rather a long way away, although pleasingly adjacent to Naval Base Guam.

The hint is in the first paragraph of the story linked to.

-- quote from linked story--

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The dead mice were laced with a common pain reliever — about one quarter of a child’s dose of acetaminophen each — and dropped Wednesday from a helicopter into the jungle canopy around Naval Base Guam.

-- quote --

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Headmaster

+1

Internet for you

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Umm

So, according to their official, they're going out into the jungle at night to look for dangerous snakes up trees.

Makes me realise why office work is my true vocation.

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Badgers

And if the Chamorros folk get a headache...

You really couldn't make it up!

Badgers coz, well, they might too... I just don't know.

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Jobs Horns

Military Industrial Complex

Your tax dollars, down the drain faster than you can say, decaying infrastructure.

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title

So, the serpents have been getting it on far too readily with the inevitable results, and the solution is to give them a cure for headaches?

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Coat

Contractors

"each drug-laced corpse is attached to a special drag streamer which deploys on departing the aircraft,"

One dare not even attempt to calculate the cost per mouse. This must be a very profitable contract for some large US firm, hurting no doubt, from a recent loss of work in Iraq.

//Mine's the one with the KBR logo

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So...

general consensus seems to be wild snakes are unlikely to eat the dead mice, leaving the tainted food for native carrion eating species to feed on.

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Ha!

You mean like several types of bird?

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Bronze badge

Lingual imperialism...

Paracetamol is not the UK name for acetaminophen. Paracetamol is the internationally recognised and WHO-recommended name for the drug. It is known as acetaminophen in only the US, because of the practice of adopting their own names for generic medicines instead of the International Nonproprietary Name used by everyone else. This also serves to confuse themselves and everyone else in the process.

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Quite so

Because of the proximity of Canada to the US, this is also the practice here.

To howls of outrage by my British wife (who is a nurse), they regularly use the brand name Tylenol when referring to paracetamol (acetaminophen) in the medical profession which is an insanely mad thing to be doing. Tylenol is a brand name covering a range of different products all using paracetamol in their formulation so the name is not specific enough when talking medically about prescriptions for patients.

The overuse of brand names here is a testament to the power of drug companies and their marketing, especially for drugs that have gone generic for so many years,

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lingual imperialism...

"because of the practice of adopting their own names for generic medicines instead of the International Nonproprietary Name used by everyone else"

Like the practice of adopting their own names for SI units.

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Grenade

Deep roots run deep

The mass hysteria and confusion caused by American misnaming is not a recent problem. Probably the original example would be our (at least here in The South) referring to all varieties of carbonated sugar water as "coke" (recall that Coca-Cola was originally marketed as a medicine). It is a little known fact that this confusion was the true cause of the American Civil War. A visiting Yankee asked for a bit of Coke in his julep. When his host, the Most Honorable Major Colonel Bogardus the Third, politely inquired as to just what kind of coke he preferred, the situation escalated in a who's-on-first style exchange of words. Ultimate result: a death toll of billions.

Though, now that I think about it, I can't recall ever having been confused by the name 'acetaminophen'.

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Wasn't that

Colonel Ingus?

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Tylenol!=Paracetamol

Tylenol to be fair is paracetamol and codeine and not just paracetamol. Commonly called co-codamol in this country. Maybe they should give the snakes some codeine so they can have a slightly more happy send off.

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Happy

Tylenol |= codeine

Tylenol that you can buy over the counter in the US does not contain codeine. Codeine is a controlled substance and can only be bought via prescription. There is a drug called Tylenol 3 which does contain codeine. It makes happy faces............

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Headmaster

Not quite

I'm no pharmacist, but in the US (Canada may be different; codeine is much easier to get there I believe; I think you can even get "real" cough syrup without an Rx) OTC Tylenol does NOT contain codeine. Dentists and other doctors will often prescribe acetaminophen with codeine, called (I think) by various names, but most commonly "Tylenol with Codeine".

Oddly, the purportedly more liver friendly "Vicuprofin" (with ibuprofen instead of acetaminophen) is nearly impossible to get a script for because the MD's seem to think junkies might abuse it, but won't abuse the vicodin for fear the acetaminophen would do in their livers.

No, I couldn't make this stuff up...

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SQUEAK?

Thanks, Mr Pratchett

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