RAT DOCTOR, RAT DETECTIVE AND RAT DRIVER (Post No.7207)

Compiled  BY London Swaminathan

swami_48@yahoo.com

Date: 12  NOVEMBER 2019

Time  in London – 16-31

Post No. 7207

Pictures are taken from various sources; beware of copyright rules; don’t use them without permission; this is a non- commercial, educational blog; posted in swamiindology.blogspot.com and tamilandvedas.com simultaneously. Average hits per day for both the blogs 12,000

Two interesting articles about rats have appeared in a London News magazine.

‘THE WEEK’ magazine published from Britain, has published a news item about rats driving small cars in its issue dated 9th November 2019

Rats are very cunning and clever. They learn new tricks quickly. A team at the University of Richmond in Virginia (USA) constructed a rat operated vehicle (ROV). The vehicle is just a plastic jar mounted on wheels. Three copper bars and an aluminium plate are used as seat and steering wheel. If they sit on an aluminium plate and touch the copper wires to complete the circuit they are given some rewards. Once they complete the circuit this way the car moves forward. Then they could steer with the help of three copper bars.

Two sets of rats are used. One set was housed in an  enriched environment with toys and exercise machines. Another set was raised in normal lab cages. The enriched rats learnt driving far more quickly than the rest, indicating stimulation in early life is beneficial to rodents as it is to humans.

Source -The Week, 9th November 2019

xxx

Rat Doctor and Rat Detective

In Africa rats are trained to detect land mines and diagnose tuberculosis (TB). A single trained rat can search over 2000 square feet of land for explosive mines in around 20 minutes. A human would take a week to do the same. This is done in Morogoro in Tanzania. (Lot of countries affected by wars have the land mine problem)

Lives are saved and the war torn countries will be a safer place to live because of these hero rats.  The rats we are talking about are African pouched rats growing up to three feet long. Apopo , an NGO founded in Belgium, has been using their extraordinary sense of smell to find explosives all over the world.

The rats have also been trained to detect tuberculosis, while many other applications, all based around smell, are being researched. They are astonishingly effective.  Over the past 20 years, rats have cleared 100,000 landmines giving back almost 2.5 million square miles of land to a million people who had previously lived in fear.

There are more than 50 species within the genus Rattus, but African giant rats – Cricetomys gambianus- would be best suited to this task. It takes nine months to train a rat to sniff the explosives in landmines. Rats have been used to detect TB since 2007. The rats have helped to halt more than 117,000 potential TB infections.  When somebody has TB their sputum (spit) contains compounds by a bacterial pathogen and these have an odour. Some doctors claim to be able to smell it on very ill patients, but it is recognisable to some animals – such as rats taught by Apopo- at an early stage. Rats can easily smell the harmful bacteria. When the rats find something harmful, they are trained to scratch the ground.

( a longer version of this article was published in the Telegraph magazine.)

Source – The Week dated 26 October 2019.

–subham–

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: