Science News

Rats to Replace Sniffer Dogs

Sun, 16th Jun 2002

Part of the show Hauntings, ghosts and poltergeists - Psychical Researcher Tony Cornell

Apparently in London you are never further than 10 feet from a rat !

But rats aren't just pests because a team of researchers at Baltimore University have trained a squad of 'sniffer' rats which they say are just as good as traditional sniffer dogs.

According to the researchers, nine times out of ten their rats can sniff out explosives or drugs even when they are masked by other odours such as petrol. So how does it work ? The rats are trained to stand on their hinds legs when they smell something dodgy by a computer that dishes out food rewards when they get it right. The researchers believe that rats could be much better than sniffer dogs because they don't need a particular person to handle them, and they can get into smaller places. The prospect of airport security guards armed with rats does sound fairly amusing though!


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