Brown tree snakes are an invasive threat to Hawaii due to increasing traffic between here and Guam. So when Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update snuck in a quick joke about a ridiculous extermination method being used in Guam to fight the snakes, it tickled me a bit. The joke went (as “reported” by Weekend Update host Seth Myers):
“In an effort to rid Guam of the brown tree snake--which has over run the island--officials have begun dropping mice laced with poison and fitted with parachutes. Because sometimes the best solution is the simplest one.”
It's funny; the delivery was good... I chuckled. But after thinking about the quip--and doing a quick internet search--I was slightly disappointed. Weekend Update is usually very topical and fresh humor, but they fell a bit flat on this one. According to an article in National Geographic Daily News, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been doing this for three years already, and developing the technique since 1995.
Like I said, the joke was funny. Plus, a Hawaii/Guam problem making it onto Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update is good to see. Even if the info was a bit dated. It also shows just how close SNL writers follow Huffington Post, which printed a mouse-dropping story just three days before the show.
Apparently the already dead mice are stuffed with a small doses of acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol) which disrupts the snakes’ oxygen carrying hemoglobin blood proteins--whatever the hell that means. It kills them. Usually snakes won't eat something they haven't stalked and slain themselves, but luckily, brown tree snakes are greedy.
I won’t get into the way that the brown tree snake has decimated Guam, or its potential to royally screw things up in Hawaii--I’ve done that already in the Honolulu Weekly. But I will note the fact that the Hawaii State Legislature has taken further steps to guard against infestation of snakes and other invasive species by reinstating the detector dog program with the passing of HB1943. The bill was passed in this years legislative session and has been submitted to Governor Abercombie to be signed into law. It is just one of many steps we'll need to take in the coming years to keep these slithery bastards at bay...
Lets do this Governor Neil!