Jessica Marie Conaway
Analyzing and Writing Arguments
Friday, October 25, 2008
The First Line of Defense
Can we stop brown tree snakes from getting a transport to a an ecological haven?
The Brown Tree Snake (Boiga irregularis) is an arboreal colubrid snake native to eastern and northern coastal Australia, Papua New Guinea, and a large number of islands in northwestern Melanesia. This snake is infamous for being an invasive species responsible for devastating the majority of the native bird population on Guam. The Brown tree snake preys upon birds, lizards, bats and small rodents in its native range. It preys on birds and shrews on Guam. Due to the availability of prey and lack of predators in introduced habitats such as Guam, they have been known to grow to larger sizes than their normal 1 to 2 meters in length. The longest recorded length of this species is one found on Guam measuring three meters.
This species of snake not native to the island of Guam. Shortly after World War II, and before 1952, the Brown tree snake was accidentally transported from its native range in the South Pacific to Guam, probably as a stowaway in ship cargo. As a result of abundant prey resources on Guam and the absence of natural predators outside of feral pigs and Mangrove monitors, Brown tree snake populations reached to an obscene number.
These snakes caused the extermination of most of the native forest vertebrate species; thousands of power outages affecting private, commercial, and military activities; widespread loss of domestic birds (9 out of 12 domestically native birds to Guam), half of its natural lizards, pets, and even some of their bats; and considerable emotional trauma to residents and visitors alike when snakes invaded human habitats with the potential for the biting of small children.
Since Guam is a major transportation hub in the Pacific, numerous opportunities exist for the Brown tree snakes on Guam to be introduced accidentally...