How is the USGS helping prevent the spread of the brown treesnake?

Preventing the spread of the invasive brown treesnake is paramount. It is much cheaper than intervention once a snake population is established.

Without rigorous prevention, it is extremely difficult to control (let alone remove) an introduced reptile species. In the case of the brown treesnake, prevention efforts include working to detect stowaway snakes before they leave the island, as well as extreme vigilance on islands where the snakes are most likely to invade.

If the brown treesnake gets to any other snake-free islands, it will find a veritable banquet of prey animals — and the same thing could happen there as happened on Guam. It’s essential to get ahead of the curve and implement prevention efforts at the get-go, before an alien species becomes a problem.

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Are there invasive reptiles other than Burmese pythons in the United States that people should be concerned about?

Free-ranging snakes representing dozens of species from around the world are discovered in the United States in any given year, usually as a result of escapees or illegal releases, but most of these have not established reproductive populations. Florida is a major transportation hub and has a climate that’s suitable for many invasive species. As a...

How have invasive pythons impacted Florida ecosystems?

Non-native Burmese pythons have established a breeding population in South Florida and are one of the most concerning invasive species in Everglades National Park. Pythons compete with native wildlife for food, which includes mammals, birds, and other reptiles. Severe mammal declines in Everglades National Park have been linked to Burmese pythons...

Can invasive pythons be eradicated?

The odds of eradicating an introduced population of reptiles once it has spread across a large area are very low, pointing to the importance of prevention, early detection and rapid response. And with the Burmese python now distributed across more than a thousand square miles of southern Florida, including all of Everglades National Park and areas...

What is the brown treesnake?

The brown treesnake is native to parts of Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and Australia. The snake was first sighted on the island of Guam in the 1950s, probably after stowing away on cargo ships coming from New Guinea. The snakes feed on lizards, birds, small mammals, and eggs. Since the treesnake has no natural predators or other...

What is an invasive species and why are they a problem?

An invasive species is an introduced, nonnative organism (disease, parasite, plant, or animal) that begins to spread or expand its range from the site of its original introduction and that has the potential to cause harm to the environment, the economy, or to human health. A few well-known examples include the unintentional introduction of the...
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Date published: January 23, 2020

New Study Provides Insights for Detecting the Invasive Brown Treesnake

Research by the USGS and Dickinson College reveals why scientists fail to detect brown treesnakes at low densities

Date published: March 3, 2016

Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team Deployed to Saipan after Two Snake Sightings

Two recent reports of two brown treesnakes on Saipan is prompting federal and state officials to urge citizens of Hawaii, Guam and other Pacific Islands to report any sightings of these invasive snakes to authorities. Snakes can be reported by calling (671) 777-HISS or (670) 28-SNAKE.

Date published: November 7, 1997

Snake Barrier On Rota is Important Step Toward Preventing Future Spread of Brown Tree Snake

A new way to prevent brown tree snakes from invading was unveiled yesterday by scientists working for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey and Ohio State University.

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