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717richboy's avatar

Why does Guam have so many snakes?

Asked by 717richboy (234 points ) December 13th, 2013

I have been reading some of the articles from the conservative website I stumbled across yesterday. The article is about Guam’s snake infestation. In the article the author suggests that the Guam natives should be paid to eradicate the snake issues. Is it not rude and degrading to suggest that people from a poorer country be paid to hunt snakes? I was so appalled and disgusted. This is why the U.S. has such horrible immigration policies; because they think people from poorer countries are cave men. Here is the link to the article. Is it just me or am I overreacting?

http://thecollegeconservative.com/2013/12/11/2000-deployed-to-guam/

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18 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

They were brought over on boats and since there was no predator they multiplied.

zenvelo's avatar

Because the snakes are an invasive species with no natural predator in Guam. They got to Guam by stowing away in airplanes, and with no natural enemies, they are loving the comfy jungle.

Same thing is happening in Florida with Burmese pythons.

Rarebear's avatar

Although I do admit that the whole idea of dropping Tylenol laced mice from the sky seemed a bit hare-brained to me when I heard about it on the radio. The thing is that these are tree snakes, and not easily accessable. From an environmental perspective, though, Tylenol is relatively harmless. Certainly the scheme is less environmentally dangerous than, say, dropping poison or introducing another predator. There’s not a lot to lose but I’m skeptical that it will work.

717richboy's avatar

I think we should do everything we can to aid the natives. I can’t imagine living on a small island with that many snakes.

DWW25921's avatar

“people from a poorer country” Um… You know Guam is a US territory, right?

snowberry's avatar

Hey, if it was a better living than I could make doing anything else, it’d be fine with me. It also depends on the kind of snakes. If they were poisonous, I’d better be trained, equipped, and have a medical staff.

CWOTUS's avatar

I think you missed the point of the article.

The point is that the iffy proposition for assassinating snakes is hugely expensive, aside from the fact that it’s not at all certain to work. So… if we want snakes killed on Guam to protect the military assets there, it would seem to be much more cost effective to pay a bounty to the people on the island who choose to participate in killing snakes. I don’t see what’s so culturally offensive about that; it’s certainly less offensive – to me – than the idea of wasting $8 million and who knows what ecological and personal risk to those who want to dope up 2000 mice with drugs and then parachute them onto the island.

For that matter, we pay people in this country who choose to take on tasks that we don’t like, and sometimes pay pretty well for it. Are we being insensitive to farmers, ranchers, laborers, dock workers, welders… ?

717richboy's avatar

@DWW25921, Guam is a country, a US territory, and an island.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The choice they faced was would you choose to have conservatives or snakes. They voted and chose well.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I miss the point when it comes to the idea that it’s degrading to pay the natives to control the snake population. Though it is certainly the white man who bears responsibility for the infestation, it is unlikely that anyone would succeed half as well at locating and “harvesting” the critters as the natives. I would bet that if the bounty were high enough, the snakes might well face extinction.

DWW25921's avatar

@717richboy It’s not a sovereign state.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe

Good one ! Gave me the best laugh I’ve had all day.

To answer the question at hand: I really don’t understand what is so terrible about paying the people who live their (and would be the experts on THEIR environment) to help eradicate this huge problem.

Aren’t conservatives always preaching self-sufficiency?

Perhaps some of the more enterprising islanders could set up their own extermination company and get paid very well for organizing this “goat rodeo”.

How is this a problem ? More to the point, are the people themselves (not some ivory tower conservative eggheads) having a problem with this. And even more to the point, if the islanders themselves find this insulting to their sensibilities, they can simply refuse to participate.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly WHY this whole idea is such a big problem and FOR WHOM is it problematic.

If its mainly a problem for a bunch of conservatives who did not grow up on Guam and know little about it, then I’d tell them to mind their own damn business and let people decide for themselves if they find it offensive or not. You don’t get the right to do it by proxy; ie: why do you (judgemental conservatives) think that you have the right to be offended FOR THEM ?

I find that offensive. Butt out and mind your own damn business.

El_Cadejo's avatar

” Is it not rude and degrading to suggest that people from a poorer country be paid to hunt snakes?”

It is not an uncommon practice for hunters to be compensated for hunting an invasive species, regardless of country.

Rarebear's avatar

The snakes live in trees. That’s why they’re hiring the dead mice to do the dirty work.

717richboy's avatar

@Buttonstc, I am not a conservative. I discovered the sight when I stumbled upon an article on their site bashing welfare recipients. I just feel like the rhetoric the author of the article used is the same rhetoric they generally use when opposing immigration reform.

Smitha's avatar

Reports state that these snakes (native to Australia and Papua New Guinea) were introduced after World War II by stowing away inside packing crates and cargo. They have since gone hog wild, and are so numerous (some estimates say two million) that they climb power poles and wires, causing blackouts.
Hope the poisoned mice: solves Guam’s snake problem.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, the snakes are the result of stowaways over the years.
According to the article Tylenol is also toxic to birds, secondary poisoning of innocent native species is not a smart move. Why not just drop a few thousand Mongooses with little parachutes into the canopy, maybe some Cane Toads too, they eat anything also. lol

DWW25921's avatar

I got bored so I looked up the answer to your question. I also found some moderately interesting other crap too. It would seem that humans introduces this species… On purpose!

“colonization of snakes on formerly snake-free islands”
~ http://www.fort.usgs.gov/resources/education/bts/invasion/history.asp

Today, Guam’s official political status is that of “unincorporated territory of the United States.”
~ http://guampedia.com/guams-political-status/

“Guam’s Brown Tree Snake Problem To Be Solved With Toxic Mice, Officials Hope”
~ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/guam-brown-tree-snake_n_2740733.html
What could possibly go wrong with that plan? (sigh)

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