This past year a special police unit in Columbia has been training rats to sniff out landmines in their war-torn South American country. Part of this special training includes locking these rats in cages with one of their fiercest enemies - the cat!
The rats are taught to freeze when they discover a landmine in front of them. A big problem is that they do not want to stay still for too long because of their fear of being attacked by a predator.
The solution to this problem came about by locking the rats in cages with friendly cats. The cats are equipped with shields on their claws so they cannot inadvertently injure the rats when they play with them. The rats become comfortable being with the cats.
"Bringing the rats face-to-face with an enemy allows them to stay more focused once they are released", says vet Luisa Mendez, who has been working with the animals for two years.
Traditionally dogs have been trained to detect landmines, but the rats weigh much less than dogs do and will not accidentally trigger a mine explosion.
There are over 100,000 landmines mainly left by the leftist rebels in Columbia. The rats have had a 96% success rate in finding the mines in areas they seek them out in.
Source: Digital Journal
Tags: Cats | Rats | Training | Landmines