Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team

Science Center Objects

Brown Treesnakes continue to cause major problems for the ecology, economy, and quality of life on Guam. Our scientists conduct research on this snake species, including control tool development and testing, ecological impacts, and early detection methods. We hold Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team training courses on Guam throughout the year to develop the skills needed to effectively respond to snake sightings in island environments. Training covers snake capture and handling, search image development at night, response logistics, search area and trapping layout and a host of other practical skill sets.

In 2002, a multiagency Rapid Response Team (RRT) led by USGS was established to assist with detection and capture of Brown Treesnakes on recipient islands if a snake was accidentally transported from Guam. The RRT has incorporated a wide range of research results from the USGS Invasive Reptiles Project, such as means to improve snake detectability at low densities, effectiveness of control tools in rodent-rich environments, and predicting movements of snakes translocated accidentally.

The primary RRT activities are conducting training courses on Guam for team members stationed on other islands and conducting and managing multi-agency responses when a snake is sighted on an island other than Guam. Training courses on Guam include extensive visual searching to develop the ability to find and capture snakes, as well as instruction on use of snake traps and proper interview techniques when gathering snake observation data from the public. The Rapid Response Team coordinator also performs outreach and public education on Brown Treesnakes throughout the Pacific region.

Cooperators include the DOI Office of Insular Affairs, USFWS, U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Department of Defense, USDA Wildlife Services, Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources, Hawaii’s Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species and Invasive Species Committees, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, and Hawaii Department of Forestry and Wildlife. Additional quarantine, agriculture, and natural resources cooperators include officials from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.