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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Managing island biotas: brown tree snake control using barrier technology


The brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis), accidently introduced to the previously snake-free U.S. island of Guam after World War II, decimated the island’s naive wildlife. Today, it periodically stows away on craft going to other islands where the ecological damage may be repeated. Barriers offer an effective tool for keeping the snakes out of areas from which they can disperse off-island, as well as sites identified as critical for the protection of human health, conduct of economic activity, or conservation of endangered species. The authors have developed a variety of barrier designs which repulse at least 95% of snake attempts to scale them under laboratory conditions; the best performing models are 100% effective. Three of the designs are in operational use. Designs for maximizing snake repulsion will be more costly to build, but may have lower annual costs due to reduced expenses for system upkeep.

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