Detective Rats in the Dutch
Derrick, Poirot, Magnum, Dupont and Dupond: that's a good funny name for rats . But the rodents to whom they were given carry them very well. Why ? Because they are real detectives, simply!
A great first
In Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, rats learn indeed to sniff crime . More cost effective than sniffer dogs, which are expensive to purchase and train, rodents are able to learn to identify odors, such as some drugs, but also gun powder.
" To our knowledge, we are the first in the world to train rats for use in police investigations." says Marl Wiebes, who heads the Dutch Police Innovation Center
C is with tea balls, one of which contains traces of powder, that rats are trained. Rodents are rewarded with an audible click, and sunflower seeds.
This ability to detect traces of powder is very useful when several people are suspected after a gun crime. Lab tests are expensive and time consuming, while a rat can spot the smell of powder in seconds only
The rat and the dog complement each other
In addition to cost only ten euros each, rats learn extremely fast. " They need hardly 10 to 15 days to learn to recognize a particular smell " says AFP Monique Hamerslag, in charge of this amazing program.
This He developed this project after having developed it in his final year thesis. His goal: to be able to call his detective rats in 2014.
But be careful, rats do not have only advantages. Unlike dogs that can search anywhere, whether or not they know where they are sent, rodents are afraid to venture into unknown places.
" Best of all, it's bringing the smell to the rats , not the other way around, which means taking samples and bringing them to where we keep the rats "says Monique Hamerslag. And to add: " the rat will never replace the dog, they have distinct qualities and complement ".