Mine Sniffing Rats on a Leash

August 5 | 1 Comment

Ratbert Loves Cheese MinesWe all know there are lots of rats crawling around in this world. Lest you think I’m typing figuratively here, take a gander at the following story.

That’s right, we’ve got bomb sniffing rats taking biscuits right out of the mouths of dogs that would love to have that job, and don’t try to tell me this is a job a canine wouldn’t do.  In fact this is one of the things every dog has dreamed of from the time they were a pup.

TOFO, Mozambique, Aug. 3 (UPI) — A few enterprising Mozambicans say they might be able to turn their rabbit-sized, land mine-sniffing African rats into a tourist-attracting oddity.

The rat handlers let their rodents poke around at the end of thin leashes until they scratch at the ground. That’s the sign they’ve discovered an explosive device, The Georgia Straight reported in its travel section July 31.

There’s some disturbing stuff in this story.  Let’s start with the size of the rats. If these rodents are anywhere near the size of this rabbit, then Mozambique has bigger problems than land mines; problems such as carniverous rabbits.

Assuming these rats are moderately sized, I still don’t see how them sniffing bombs turns it into a tourist-attracting oddity. Unless it goes down something like this.

“And now Freckles the Rat will locate a land mine. I need a volunteer from the audience,” the rat handler says before pulling my father out of the crowd.

“Thank you for being so courageous, sir. I just need you to confirm this is indeed a land mine. I don’t want anyone thinking we’re playing tricks around here,” he states as he pushes my father forward to the buried disc in the ground. “Just make sure you don’t step … ”


And then that’s the end of my old man and the tourist attraction. Until the next week when a new group of tourists comes to town.

Dennis Adams, a hostel owner who moved to Mozambique from South Africa eight years ago, told the Vancouver, British Columbia, newspaper he thinks tourists could be attracted by the spectacle of giant rats looking for land mines.

“People would come and see the rats work in the field with the trainers,” Adams said. “We could sell T-shirts, and the tourists could have their photos taken with them.”

Now that’s a money maker. Afterall who doesn’t like t-shirts with kitchy sayings like, “My parents went to Mozambique and all they got me was this arm.”?


One Response to “Mine Sniffing Rats on a Leash”

  1. James on August 19th, 2008 10:51 am

    That is the grossest thing I believe I have ever seen.  Wow!

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