Photo: Colombia Training Rats to Detect Landmines and Other Explosives
Rats in Colombia are currently being trained to locate landmines that have killed and maimed a number people, many children.
The Colombian National Police tried to use dogs to sniff out the landmines, but it would end in tragedy, as the dogs were heavy enough to set off the land mines. Since then Colombian officials have worked to find a safer way to find them.
Since rats have a sense of smell similar on strength to a dog’s and their size allows then to cross over the mines without detonating them, rats have become the ideal land mine finders.
The rodents are being trained to detect as many as 7 different types of explosives.
While the rat training is proving to be a success, the rats’ life expectancy is still an issue, as they tend to live just three to four years.
Colombia is said to be the only country in Latin America with landmines, and they are everywhere. In 2009, Colombia was determined to hold the record for most landmine victims in the world.
Between 1990 and August 2009, there were more than 8,000 victims reported. Landmines do not discriminate as both men, women, children, military personnel and simple farmers are left emotionally scarred, if not injured, killed.