EAST MANATEE — Haile Middle School officials knew they had to do something when vultures began to swoop in and peck at pigs that agricultural students kept on the campus.
The birds, which are predators, had been attracted by a nearby landfill and had become a nuisance at the school.
School district officials employed an experimental weapon to drive the huge birds away: The smell of grape bubble gum, better-known by its scientific name, methyl anthranilate.
“Methyl anthranilate in a vapor affects a nerve in the bird located in the beak, eyes and throat,” said Jeff Norris, president of Nuisance Wildlife Removal Inc., an Ellenton firm the school district hired to handle the problem.
“It’s like a dentist hitting a nerve in your tooth,” he said. “It’s temporary, goes away almost immediately, and has no effect on people or pets.”
Vultures hate the stuff, and won’t roost anywhere near it.
They flew the coop.
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