Friday, March 05, 2010

Snake Hunt

Last weekend after we picked up Ben at the airport, we brought him up to the PIU campus to meet everyone there. Most of the PIU faculty and staff were still there wrapping up a dinner and prayer meeting with the PIU board members. As we drove in, the Plaxtons were driving out and we thought we had missed them. But within a minute or so they came back into the campus yelling that they had just run over a Guam Brown Tree Snake. Joyce yelled "snake hunt!" and took off running with the everyone else behind her. The snake was on the road, somewhat stunned from its encounter with the Plaxton's Corolla, but alive and well. Joyce used her well-practiced strategy of stepping on the snake just behind the head as it came at her to defend itself, rendering the snake helpless. She then grabbed it behind the head and was in complete control. After letting several people handle it, we took it home and she put it in the freezer (it is still there). She will trade it to a local craftsman for a snake vertebrae necklace and earrings. The Guam Brown Tree Snake is not an indigenous species to Guam and has wreaked havoc on the local wildlife, almost wiping out the local bird population. The Guam government is doing their best to eradicate the brown tree snake and Joyce is one of their best allies in the effort.

Joyce poses with PIU Board Member and Liebenzell Mission International Global Mission Director Martin Auch. It was Martin's first Guam Brown Tree Snake

Ben gets to handle the snake his first night on Guam. Some of our staff had been on Guam for years without seeing one. 

Students also enjoyed getting up close and personal with the snake. 

Marisol Farnsworth expresses her obvious delight in getting to know the snake.

Her son, Joel Farnsworth, seems more comfortable with the snake than his mom. However, the snake sensed it was time to make a break for it when Joel had him, but Joyce was able to recapture the snake. We have not seen anywhere near as many snakes on Guam as we used to. Perhaps the eradication efforts are beginning to work. 

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