Monday, March 2, 2009

Cool, improperly named rats

I guess my mind has become an interesting place to dwell again, because I can't seem to stop blogging today. I ran across this article in the archives of The New York Times today. It's about Gambian pouched rats being trained to detect landmines. Although they are huge by rodent standards (up to 9 pounds, the size of a miniature dachsund), they are small enough that they don't set off the landmines. And they're more focused than dogs, so they do a better job than landmine-detecting dachsunds, which would get bored and start digging up the landmines, which would be an altogether bad scene.

They are supercute, but should not be used to detect landmines in Florida, where they're an invasive species. You can go here to learn more about the hero rats.

I got to the Gambian rats while looking up info about banana rats, which are also not really rats, but a variety of rodent that lives in Cuba. They are also pretty cute.

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