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Rats Sniff out Land Mines in Columbia

The Scoop: Rats Are the New Bomb-Sniffing Dog

For four decades, Columbia has been wrought with war between its government and extremist rebels, leaving dangerous land mines sprinkled over the countryside. But instead of using people or bomb sniffing dogs to locate the mines, Columbia is turning to a much smaller soldier for the job: rats.

For the past few years, rats have been trained in mazes to sniff out dangerous C-4 explosives. Their tiny stature and weight won't trigger the mines so there's a better chance of diffusing the bombs safely. Surprisingly, the rats come with an 84 percent success rate, and are also being trained to work alongside Columbia's trusty German Shepherds for even more explosive detecting jobs. I am sure we can agree it gives the term "lab rat" a whole new meaning, but what do you think of the practice?

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Maizilla Maizilla 8 years
As a rat mommy of four, I do feel a little worried for these bomb sniffing ratties, but it's also a great chance to really show the public how wonderful and intelligent rats really are, they make wonderful pets too, like mini mini dogs :]
ladyr ladyr 8 years
I saw a documentary on tv about rats being trained for this. It was cool! The rats seemed to really enjoy the work and they also seemed to having very loving and trusting relationships with the trainers.
psychobabble psychobabble 8 years
Wow, I think this is awesome! People often don't think of rats as being intelligent, but they're used in so many experiments on memory, cognition, learning, etc. I used to work with one of my psychology professors in college on experiments in rat models, I was amazed at how much you could study in these little guys!
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