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Sniffer Rats Seek Out Landmines

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posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 08:39 PM
This isn't recent news, but I couldn't find any evidence that it's been discussed her before:

His highly sensitive nose can sniff out explosives at 50 paces.

And because he weighs a mere 3lb, there is no chance of him setting them off when he finds them.

Kofi the Gambian pouched rat is the latest weapon in the battle against landmines - the relics of war that litter large parts of Africa and kill thousands every year.


Training starts when the rats are weaned at five weeks. They are taught to recognise the smell of metal landmine casings in return for a food reward. In Kofi's case, it's a piece of avocado.

When fully trained, the rats sniff out a mine, then sit and scratch at the spot until they are rewarded with food. An explosives expert then destroys the mine.

Thirty sniffer rats are already being used in Mozambique to help clear landmines in the aftermath of the civil war.

A rat can clear 100 metres square in 30 minutes, equivalent to two days of human work.

I love rats and hope they are safe doing this sort of work. I hope this helps to improve their image, too.

[edit on 17-11-2009 by berenike]

posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 08:54 PM
The hero rats are not only good at sniffing landmines, they are also little doctors and help to test samples for tuberculosis.

[edit on 17-11-2009 by Drunkenshrew]

posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 08:59 PM
Magnificent beasts. Clever, too. Check this one out:

posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 09:14 PM
Drunkenshrew and Cadbury

Thank you both so very much - those videos are wonderful.

Rats make wonderful pets - I've had six at different times.

posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 09:26 PM

Originally posted by berenike
Rats make wonderful pets - I've had six at different times.

I keep rats and have been looking into getting a pouched Gambian for some time now. I'm not sure of their current legal status in The UK but I've seen quite a few kittens for sale ranging from around £250-£400 each.

posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 09:32 PM
nice find, this will help the countries infected by mines for example Afghanistan.


posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 09:37 PM
There are also bomb sniffing wasps, but I guess they are harder to use for finding landmines. They are probably more useful in i.e. airports in order to detect explosives in luggage, etc.

Bomb and Drug-Sniffing Wasps

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 01:08 AM
After reading the article I see this as a wonderful and humane use of a very smart and clever creature. Yes, what the rats do is dangerous, but their wellbeing is one of the goals.

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 02:18 AM

Originally posted by berenike
Rats make wonderful pets - I've had six at different times.

hehe - I moved into a flat once, the ad said no pets but I'd talked to the guy and he said he would allow caged animals lime hamsters and birds... I said I have rats, he said well yep they are caged that's fine (he upped the deposit by 50% tho)...

Any way the question he should of asked was how many
Missy had just had her 2nd litter! - I moved in with 2 big converted fish aquariums and several other cages etc I think 23 kittens 2 (big) adult boys and missy (who I took from her previous owner cos her buddy spontaneously died for some reason)... He said caged animals were fine!

Any most of them were re-homed soon enough, kept 2 one girl one boy... Till my ex flatmate murdered all 5 of them while I was at work with aerosols - bastard.

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 09:10 AM
Hellmutt - Thanks for the link to your thread. I've given you a mention in my other thread about insects having consciousness.

Cadbury - Those Gambian rats look a fair bit bigger than any I've ever seen before. I hope you can train them to use the loo - it will make your life a lot easier. Will you come back and let us know how you get on?

Now_Then - I hope you found a suitable punishment for your ex-housemate. What a complete and utter git. That was an awful thing to do.

Rats in cages? Never a concept I've been happy with. Mine only had to sleep in theirs during the day when I was at work. In the evenings I'd let them out to run around the living room before bed-time.

What fun we used to have. One day I saw two of mine batting the electrical wire leading to the TV. I told them to leave it or else, but they wouldn't go away. So I went to have a closer look - every time they hit the (previously chewed) wire, little blue sparks were coming off it.

[edit on 18-11-2009 by berenike]

posted on Nov, 19 2009 @ 01:53 AM
reply to post by berenike

Yep, played the long game, ruined his credit rating... He did have a mild case of OCD so really it was a case of just sitting back and throwing in a few bits of bad advice (he didn't know I knew till a few years later)... It's about 7 or 8 years later and he's still letting the debts get additional charges...

Oh and I needed the cages! - boy's and girls in the same place
they can be productive little fella's... Usually it was a case of having the boys cage open half the time and the girls open the other half... One girls in particular called Ninja would always wake me with a rat version of a wet willy - they had free run just with rules and boundaries.

Yhea that guy was a jerk, but he did have a genuine condition --- and a bigger brother so I couldn't use the violence I really wanted to use.... But his action cost him in the region of £1,200 in additional charges alone, so thats putting a price on 5 litle lives I suppose

edit - correction it was 4 little guys who were killed... the biggest of the boys was a brown guy called Bifta, just remembered I gave him to the guy at at the pet shop maybe 2 weeks before, he was taken with him cos of the way he stacked beer bottle caps, that was one of his games, when he was out we just tossed the caps out on the carpet and he would get them all - man I miss those guys.

[edit on 19/11/2009 by Now_Then]

posted on Nov, 25 2009 @ 06:49 AM
Now sea lions are being trained to sniff out under-water mines and catch intruding divers:

In a jaw-dropping feat, the US Navy's fleet of trained California sea lions are even able to detain intruder divers whilst underwater.

'We have trained sea lions to attach a leg cuff, just like hand cuffs, but fitted on a diver's thigh,' said Tom LaPuzza from the Biosciences Division of SSC Pacific.

'The device works in the same way as handcuffs. Once they are on, they cannot come off.

'A line is attached to the cuffs and the other end is held by security forces on a nearby boat. The human forces can then reel in the intruder and take him or her aboard for questioning.'



Another occasion to hope that the animals are safe and being well looked after for their troubles.

[edit on 25-11-2009 by berenike]

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