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Rats may be cheaper alternative to IED-seeking dogs.
Stars and Stripes ^ | 25/8/2012 | Matthew M. Burke

Posted on 08/26/2012 3:35:17 PM PDT by managusta

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — For centuries, rats have been cursed for spreading diseases and scavenging through garbage, but the Army hopes they can become unlikely heroes by using their sensitive snouts to sniff out land mines and improvised explosive devices.

This summer, the Army awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer award of at least $519,000 to Barron Associates Inc., of Charlottesville, Va., to develop Giant African Pouched Rats — otherwise known as Gambian Pouched Rats — to find explosives.

The Rugged Automated Training System program is sponsored by scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in collaboration with engineers at the U.S. Military Academy and Fort Leonard Wood’s Counter Explosives Hazards Center.

“I think rats do a pretty good job finding mines,” said Micheline Strand, chief of the Life Sciences Division at the U.S. Army Research Office, part of U.S. Army Research Laboratory. “They’re pretty smart animals.”

These rats can go places a dog can’t and have a sense of smell believed to be better than that of a dog. They are light — about 2-3 pounds — but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will trigger fewer IEDs.

“You’d rather have a rat blown up than your soldier,” Strand said.

Rats are being used to hunt for mines and explosives in Africa, but the training costs more than $10,000, which is still a fraction of the cost to train a dog, and takes two years out of the animal’s average 8-year lifespan"

If the training can be automated, it would erase the need to develop a bond between handler and animal, so the rats could become standard issue for soldiers. If costs are lowered, they could be sent downrange en mass, to fit in every backpack.

“The question is, can we automate it and make it cheap?” Strand said.

(Excerpt) Read more at stripes.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Government; Japan; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: dogs; ied; rats
Cool idea if it works.
1 posted on 08/26/2012 3:35:27 PM PDT by managusta
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To: managusta

They’re going to use Democrats to find IEDs? Seems a bit cruel.


2 posted on 08/26/2012 3:38:25 PM PDT by mkmensinger
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To: managusta

How about trial lawyers?


3 posted on 08/26/2012 3:38:57 PM PDT by Hunton Peck (Life, liberty, property, and the means to defend them.)
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To: managusta
to develop Giant African Pouched Rats — otherwise known as Gambian Pouched Rats

shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, he's very sensitive about his ears.

4 posted on 08/26/2012 3:41:45 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Tantaros: "Plainly put, Romney and Ryan can't push granny off the cliff. Obama beat them to it.")
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To: Hunton Peck
How about trial lawyers?

Technical problem. It has only been proven that their sensitive sense of smell works for smelling money. There's no indication that they can be trained to smell anything else.

5 posted on 08/26/2012 3:42:22 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Hunton Peck
"How about trial lawyers?"

Takes too long to train 'em.

Rats are smarter.

6 posted on 08/26/2012 3:43:08 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: managusta

I like the Idea of using democrates, finally we find some use for these useless idiots


7 posted on 08/26/2012 3:43:26 PM PDT by ronnie raygun (bb)
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To: NonValueAdded

I just looked them up. They’re native to Kenya.


8 posted on 08/26/2012 3:51:31 PM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: mkmensinger

Cruel? Mebbe, But in the immortal words of John Candy: “I’m all for it, of course!”............


9 posted on 08/26/2012 3:53:34 PM PDT by doorgunner69
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To: managusta
I always said the Democrats should stand in front of our troops if they didn't stand behind them.

I have been vindicated!

10 posted on 08/26/2012 3:59:14 PM PDT by KC_Lion (Normalcy results in the creation of life, Sodomy results in AIDS)
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To: doorgunner69
Cruel? Mebbe, But in the immortal words of John Candy: “I’m all for it, of course!”.........

Not that there's anything wrong with it.


11 posted on 08/26/2012 4:04:55 PM PDT by Iron Munro ("In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit." - Ayn Rand)
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To: mkmensinger
They’re going to use Democrats to find IEDs?

No chance.

It's too much like a J-O-B.


12 posted on 08/26/2012 4:13:47 PM PDT by Iron Munro ("In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit." - Ayn Rand)
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To: managusta

The only problem with rats is that they only live 1-3 years. Domesticated rats can be very friendly and actually take orders.


13 posted on 08/26/2012 4:18:10 PM PDT by MuttTheHoople (Obama does not have the work ethic to be Anti-Christ.)
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To: managusta; All

Oh BWHAHAHA!!! I’m LMAO at you people, I’m not even going to try and come up with any funny one liners, I tip my hat to all of you! ;)


14 posted on 08/26/2012 4:20:54 PM PDT by mkjessup (Finley Peter Dunne - "Politics ain't beanbag")
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To: managusta
BONUS: rats are considered evil in Islam

If we feed them bacon, they can be:

Pork-Eating Crusader Rats


mwahahahahahaha
15 posted on 08/26/2012 4:33:26 PM PDT by verum ago (A good physical therapist is half friend, half sadist.)
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To: managusta
BONUS: rats are considered evil in Islam

If we feed them bacon, they can be:

Pork-Eating Crusader Rats


mwahahahahahaha
16 posted on 08/26/2012 4:33:45 PM PDT by verum ago (A good physical therapist is half friend, half sadist.)
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To: verum ago

aw crap a double post. How’d I do that? I blame the rats.


17 posted on 08/26/2012 4:34:47 PM PDT by verum ago (A good physical therapist is half friend, half sadist.)
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To: mkmensinger
They’re going to use Democrats to find IEDs? Seems a bit cruel.

Not sure where the cruelty part comes into play. IEDs don't have feelings.

18 posted on 08/26/2012 4:43:44 PM PDT by douginthearmy
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To: managusta

You were tlaking animal rats not political Rats. Because I wouldn’t trust the later.


19 posted on 08/26/2012 4:47:26 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
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To: managusta
Factoid: Some of Holder's people consider these particular rats a delicacy. When they had the monkeypox outbreak in Wisconsin several years back it was traced through the prairie dog, which spread it to humans, to imported, infected, giant Gambian rats. So beware the left literally eating the military budget.
20 posted on 08/26/2012 5:05:21 PM PDT by JohnBovenmyer (Obama been Liberal. Hope Change!)
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To: MuttTheHoople
Domesticated rats can be very friendly and actually take orders.,/p>

I once knew a woman who was breeding rats to be friendly. In each generation she'd pick out the friendliest rats to produce the next generation. I asked her what she did with the rats who weren't friendly enough. She said she had a friend who raised snakes.

21 posted on 08/26/2012 5:37:07 PM PDT by JoeFromSidney ( New book: RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY. Buy from Amazon.)
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To: mkmensinger

I am more concerned about the democRATS propersity to lie.


22 posted on 08/26/2012 5:46:59 PM PDT by rod1 (CTLY)
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To: CrazyIvan
I just looked them up. They’re native to Kenya.

The rats or the democrats?


23 posted on 08/26/2012 7:14:35 PM PDT by Iron Munro ("In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit." - Ayn Rand)
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To: verum ago

I like it,I like it.


24 posted on 08/26/2012 7:19:34 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life's tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: Iron Munro
Not sure. I haven't seen a birth certificate from either.
25 posted on 08/26/2012 7:21:22 PM PDT by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: managusta
Look at the size of those rascals!
If they get loose in the Negrohoods we could have a serious varmit problem.


26 posted on 08/26/2012 7:24:58 PM PDT by Iron Munro ("In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit." - Ayn Rand)
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To: managusta

27 posted on 08/26/2012 8:38:48 PM PDT by garjog
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