Sniffer Rats Detect Landmines in Mozambique

Mozambique is still littered with land mines from the country's civil war that ended in 1992. According to Handicap International, an estimated 20 people step on landmines every month in Mozambique. In addition to claiming the lives of about 60 percent of those who step on them, those land mines eat up land that could be used for farming, etc.

So Mozambique is turning to trained rats to de-mine the country. The rats have an acute sense of smell and are small enough not to detonate the mines. Every time they detect explosive, they make a clicking sound and receive a bit of banana as a reward. Rats trained under the scheme have already helped clear large swathes of land in mine-infested Mozambique.

It takes nine months of painstaking on-and-off field training for a rat to be deployed for mine detection, but they much better job than dogs or humans. A team of two rats can clear a 200 sq mt minefield in two hours rather than the day it takes humans.


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