08/07/2015

Rats on the Job

11:43 minutes

Magnum, a Dutch police rat "on patrol." Photo by Monique Hammerslag
Magnum, a Dutch police rat “on patrol.” Photo by Monique Hammerslag

Rats. They snack on garbage and spread disease, and no matter how many traps we set, they keep coming back. But for some people, rats aren’t pests—they’re potential employees. Inspector Monique Hammerslag of the Dutch National Police force tells us about the team of police rats she’s training. And Aaron Blaisdell, professor of comparative psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, describes the surprising reasoning abilities of the rat—and what exactly makes them such good workers.

Segment Guests

Aaron Blaisdell

Aaron Blaisdell is a professor of comparative psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Monique Hammerslag

Monique Hammerslag is an inspector with the Dutch National Police in Leusden, Netherlands.

Meet the Producers

About Elah Feder

Elah Feder is co-host and producer of Undiscovered. She’s also Science Friday’s resident Canadian.

About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata is Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.