The go by the monickers Poirot, Magnum, Derrick, Thomson and Thompson, and while they may be named fictional detectives, these pint sized investigators are doing real work for the Dutch police, where Rotterdam police are training rats to sniff out crime
"As far as we know we're the first in the world to train rats to be used in police investigations," stated Mark Wiebes, head of the Dutch police "innovation" center.
Although dogs are superior police officers, the rats are able to sniff out numerous substances from elicit drugs to gunpowder, and like to work in the dark. In addition, they are a lot cheaper. While sniffer dogs cost “tens of thousands of dollars, to buy and approximately 8 months to train, each rat runs only about $13, and can (theoretically) be taught to detect and identify any odor quickly.
"They need barely 10 to 15 days to learn to distinguish a certain smell," the policewoman in charge of the project, Monique Hamerslag, “In fact, "The more boring a rat's life is, the better" it is at detective work.” She also noted that “male rats are better at the job than females.”