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A dogged last defense against brown tree snakes


Cara J

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On a late June morning, biological science technician Joaquin Benavente and his partner Bonnie started a routine day at the U.S. Navy processing center on Guam, with 16 outbound vehicles scheduled for handling. After a safety inspection, the team was cleared to begin the search of a green Ford Mustang destined for Charleston, SC, along with other goods of an American military member. Bonnie, a Jack Russell terrier mix from the Meriwether County (GA) Animal Shelter, had arrived in Guam a year earlier. Since March she has partnered with Benavente, a canine detection dog handler for six years. While actively searching the car, Bonnie showed a distinct change of behavior, heading toward the engine’s right side and drawing his attention there. Benavente, a WS specialist since 2006, identified a brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis), coiled on top of the fender, underneath the air filter housing where it never would have been seen on visual inspection. Bonnie’s response awakened the snake, which was captured by a coworker. At necropsy, the male snake, 883 mm in length and 114.3 grams, revealed stomach contents of a freshly eaten but undigested black drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus); one invasive sustaining another. WS-Guam’s Canine Program is one [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/a-dogged-last-defense-against-brown-tree-snakes/

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