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Plan to deploy trained rats to sniff explosives
Hyderabad city security wing has suggested a novel idea to the government for fighting terrorism. It has suggested that sniffer rats be trained like dogs for sniffing explosives. Experts say sensitive organs of rats work more efficiently than dogs.
THE HYDERABAD city security has suggested a novel plan to fight terrorists and Naxals. It has suggested to the government of Andhra Pradesh to deploy sniffer rats along with sniffer dogs. The plan is to train rats to sniff explosives. These sniffer rats are helpful in tracing landmines laid by terrorists and Naxals. They are able to scurry into crevices which cannot be accessed by dogs. When the trained rat squads find a mine or an explosive, they stand on their hind legs alongside it, until an expert comes up to either defuse or destroy it with a controlled blast.

Colombo is successfully using rats for this purpose.

Experts say sensitive organs of rats work more efficiently than dogs. Once rats are given specialised training they will work better then dogs.

Hyderabad based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology scientists have approved the plan. Rodents can reach narrow places and give signals which can alert security teams for further investigation. According the view of CCMB scientists, if properly trained they can prove to be useful. But given the low learning ability of the rats, the training has to be much specialised.

Sniffer dogs are trained for ten months. Out of this the first four months are spent in teaching them basic obedience and the remaining for training them to search for and sniff out explosives. When compare to this the training of rats will work out much cheaper and easier.

Recently, in Hyderabad terror attacks and Naxal activities have been on the rise. Last year, serial blasts took place in Hyderabad. There is acute shortage of sniffer dogs in the city. At present the city security wing only has 17 sniffer dogs instead of the required strength of 27. Despite being equipped with deep search mine detectors, explosives detectors, and bomb suits, the search teams require these dogs to search and detect explosives.
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