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10 ways animals have served the military

By: Laura Moss on Sept. 17, 2010, 11:20 a.m.

Photo: Jearu/Shutterstock

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Terrorist-fighting gerbils

MI5, the United Kingdom's counter-intelligence and security agency, considered using a team of trained gerbils to detect terrorists flying into Britain during the 1970s. According to Sir Stephen Lander, the organization’s former director, the Israelis had put the idea into practice, placing gerbil cages at security checks at the Tel Aviv airport. A fan wafted the scent of suspects into the gerbils’ cage, and the gerbils were trained to press a lever if they detected high levels of adrenalin.

The system was never implemented at U.K. airports because the Israelis were forced to abandon it after it was discovered that the gerbils couldn’t discern between terrorists and passengers who were just scared of flying.