Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sniffer Rats

Apparently, the story about the giant rats wasn't enough news about the vermin. The Telegraph (UK) reported yesterday about sniffer rats in Mozambique.

They are almost universally despised as disease-carrying vermin and are attacked wherever they are found.

But in an experimental scheme in Africa the special talents of the rat are being harnessed to help save lives.

The process of clearing land mines is slow, pain staking, and of course dangerous. In fact, using a metal detector, it takes one person roughly a week to clear a 100 square metre area of mines.

But in a pioneering project it has been found that a rat, because of its acute sense of smell and after intensive training, can find all the mines in the same patch in less than half an hour.

We've all heard about sniffer dogs. Then there were sniffer bees and sniffer wasps. Now we have sniffer rats. Since the rats are detecting land mines, Princess Diana would have been pleased.

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