Watch: Scientists work to improve brown tree snake detection

Brown trees snakes have contributed to the loss of 12 of Guam's 13 native forest species and have caused millions of dollars of infrastructure damage on the island. ©Dickinson College

New research shows that invasive brown tree snakes (Boiga irregularis) behavior makes it harder for researchers to detect them in Guam. The snakes have caused ecological problems in the Pacific Island since being introduced around the time of World War II, wiping out many of Guam’s native species of birds, reptiles and other wildlife. But researchers were failing to detect the elusive snakes that display nocturnal habits and live in trees, and they wanted to find out why. After putting radio telemetry tracking devices on snakes, and conducting visual surveys, they found that the snakes’ behavior primarily made them hard to detect. But they also found that the detecting reptiles is easier in certain situations compared to others, giving wildlife managers a way to target them more effectively for eradication efforts.

Read more at Ecosphere.