From a distance, the island of Guam looks like paradise... but something is missing. Paradise began to come unraveled in the wake of WWII, when an uninvited to guest came to stay.
As Guam celebrated liberation in the wake of WWII, another enemy was launching a deadly invasion. The brown tree snake most likely came by ship, a silent stowaway from its native Burma. In a matter of decades, this alien invader managed to take the island hostage.
Though the snake has caused no known fatalities in humans, in only decades it wiped out virtually all the island's native birds - some found nowhere else on earth. It's a creature designed to survive, and scientists don't yet know how to control it. Despite poisons, baits, barriers and traps, the serpent continues to control the island. But the greatest fear is that another silent stowaway will leave the island unnoticed. Just one female carrying eggs aboard a ship or plane could spell disaster. The story of the brown tree snake is a frightening parable of what can happen when a non-native species comes to stay.