Rats detect undetonated mines and illness

Africa rats are trained detectives. They use their sensitive noses to sniff out land mines and for diagnosing tuberculosis (TB).
The rats sniff out land mines in Mozambique. They are bred to be the size of raccoons! 12275483787488

Considered ridiculous at first, these squads of mine-sniffing rats have made belivers out of the worst skeptics. Now officials are considering using them in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and other countries where unexploded mines remain common.

Trained TB sniffing rats are “employed” in Tanzania, to identify spit samples at four medical clinics. The rats have found more than 300 cases of TB that hadn’t been diagnosed by medical staff.

Now Bart Weetjens of Belgium uses his trained rats to scratch when they smell the vapor from land mines or the smell of disease. When they scratch, their handlers signal them with a clicker and then reward the animals with a piece of fruit or a nut.

Weetjens was asked why the rats don’t simply scratch to get food.

“That would be human behavior,” he told the Globe. “The rats are more honest.”

Courtesy of
Rats trained to sniff land mines, TB Staff Writers Terra Daily News about Planet Earth
Maputo, Mozambique (UPI) Nov 23, 2008

http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Rats_trained_to_sniff_land_mines_TB_999.html

image courtesy of Science News

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2008/11/23/Rats_trained_to_sniff_landmines_TB/UPI-64451227476839/

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