Rats!
December 3, 2004 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Rats are being trained to detect buried land mines in Africa. Giant African pouched rats! Mine-detecting is definitely not a suicide mission, the rats are trained with care and attention and are expected to give about eight years of service. They can also detect tuberculosis. And so cute! Here's a page on keeping them as pets (but you'd need a spare room and a nocturnal lifestyle.)
posted by aeschenkarnos (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
everywhere you look, rats are coming into thier own.
posted by quonsar at 4:50 PM on December 3, 2004


Awwwwwww, wokkit teh kyoot widdle mind-sweeping rats!
posted by neckro23 at 5:16 PM on December 3, 2004


-d+e
posted by neckro23 at 5:17 PM on December 3, 2004


hehehe, I liked mind-sweeping.

and they are oh so kyooooot.
posted by dabitch at 5:22 PM on December 3, 2004


They're putting bees to work as well.
posted by Cryptical Envelopment at 6:13 PM on December 3, 2004


Do the pouches come in to play at all? Or is that just a bonus?
posted by cabingirl at 6:16 PM on December 3, 2004


There's currently a ban on the sale and import of Gambian pouched rats in the US, due to Monkeypox. That's ok, I own three regular pet Norway rats, and they are enough of a handful.
posted by veronitron at 6:23 PM on December 3, 2004


It's the bee's knee's dummie's
posted by gofojo at 7:33 PM on December 3, 2004


Am I the only one who remembers when Vietnam asked for all the quarantined british cows during the height of a late 90s Mad Cow scare in order to help with landmine clearing operations?
posted by bugmuncher at 8:38 PM on December 3, 2004


That's ok, I own three regular pet Norway rats, and they are enough of a handful.

I had several....great pets...except i developed an aleregy.
posted by srboisvert at 8:48 PM on December 3, 2004


R.O.U.S. - Rodents Observing Unexploded Shrapnel
posted by pokeydonut at 9:18 PM on December 3, 2004


I was slightly disappointed to learn that the pouches are in their cheeks, and that they are not, in fact, marsupials.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:49 PM on December 3, 2004


Man! I thought they were marsupials. Now I'm slightly disappointed, too.
posted by jennanemone at 6:18 AM on December 4, 2004


Wouldn't it be cheaper to dump a bucket of untrained rats out and let them scurry until they've blown up all the mines?
posted by unsupervised at 8:29 AM on December 4, 2004


Add these rats to the thale cress, and you've got the earlier method (poking the ground with sticks) totally beat.
posted by swerdloff at 8:54 AM on December 4, 2004


unsupervised, one of the advantages the rats have over dogs and humans for this kind of work is that they are too light to set off the mines. The second advantage is that 'scurrying' is pretty darn random. To de-mine a field, you have to ensure all of the field has sniffed out.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:47 AM on December 5, 2004


This cannot lead anywhere good. First we develop mine sweeping rats. Then our enemies will develop anti-mine sweeping rat mines. Then we'll have to make mice that can sweep for anti-mine sweeping rat mines. Then they'll develop an anti-mice mine. And in a few centuries our military will be replaced with rats, mice, shrews, and voles. The ranks and numbers deployed through enhanced capybara, perhaps with jetpacks strapped on to release airborne gerbils. This simply cannot lead anywhere good, people.

( I have yet to fathom how the bees fit into all this. )
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:54 AM on December 5, 2004


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