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Ukraine’s Army to Train Raccoons as Sappers

© Flickr / Camron FlandersA raccoon
A raccoon - Sputnik International
One of the sapper units of the Ukrainian army stationed in the city of Kharkiv is planning to train raccoons to search for explosives and clear mine fields, according to local media reports.

Last spring, officers from the unit rescued a raccoon from hunting dogs. They fostered him in the unit, nicknaming him Hook, and the unit’s animal specialists even found him a mate – a female raccoon called Alice.

Very nice raccoon - Sputnik International
Fight or Flight? One Raccoon Pragmatically Decides to Eat First, Hide Later
The pair live an ideal life in a specially constructed cage, but what they don't know is that their offspring are goint to be used to search for explosives.

The common raccoon is the most widespread type of raccoon in Eurasia.  The animal sleeps during the day and is awake all through the night. It hibernates in winter and its life expectancy is just short of 20 years.

The animal however is quite robust and can aggressively defend itself against predators.

In North America raccoons are often kept as pets. Zoologists however doubt its trainability, describing the animal as curious, aggressive and cunning.

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