Almost everyone loves animals, and what’s not to love? From fur to feathers, scales to tails, there’s a friend in the animal kingdom for everyone. While many animals now share our homes as loving and fascinating companions, there are also plenty of animals who are hard at work for their human counterparts in ways you may not have expected! Here are five remarkable jobs performed by animals.
1. Military Dolphins
You read that correctly – the United States Navy employs the work of highly intelligent, natural sonar-like users: Dolphins. Working primarily with the bottlenose dolphin, the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program is based in San Diego, California, and also works with sea lions.
Dolphins in the program aren’t put into any potentially harmful combat situations, but instead, rely on the amazing creatures for object recovery and mine detection underwater. Together, they’ve helped save more lives on the open water than many specially trained human lifesavers.
2. Service Horses
Many of us are familiar with service dogs, particular seeing-eye dogs, but not all of us have heard of service horses! It turns out that miniature horses are actually amazing candidates for being guide animals, as they are easily trained, difficult to distract, and perfect for humans with dog allergies. That, and the average mini horse lives for 50 years, as opposed to the short 10-15 for canines. In 2011, the Americans with Disabilities Act was officially revised to include and recognize these equine wonders.
3. Wire-Running Ferrets
Ferrets are adorable little weasel creatures, often described as a cross between puppy enthusiasm and cat-like mischief. They sleep for 18-22 hours a day, but when they aren’t sleeping, there are some humans that have taken a chance in putting them to work!
One notable event came in 1999 when organizers of a large event in London due to celebrate the coming new millennium realized they had lots of cables and wires that needed to be run through very tiny tunnels in order to pull off the celebration. They enlisted the help of 3 highly-trained ferrets who ran through the tunnels with the wires, laying them all in time for the show.
Ferrets historically have been used in situations like this, and seem to be perfectly suited to the job!
4. Disease-Detecting Rats
African giant (and we mean giant) pouched rats are sniffing out tuberculosis, and their accuracy and speed are saving thousands of lives. A center in Tanzania has been hard at work training these gentle giants to scratch the floor of their enclosures or otherwise indicate the presented samples are positive for TB, and are rewarded with mashed banana or avocado for a job well done.
These amazing rodents can test 100 samples in only 10 to 20 minutes, which is nearly 4 days faster than a human doctor would be able to test. They also catch an additional 40% of cases that are missed by traditional clinics.
5. Canine Beekeepers
We are all well acquainted with just how helpful dogs are in our lives. From military and police K9s to service and therapy dogs, there seems no end to what a well-trained dog can do. Many haven’t heard of yet another way pooches are helping us out, and that is by being possibly the cutest beekeepers on earth.
These trained pups can sniff out harmful and hive-threatening diseases within a beehive and thus help in keeping the disease from spreading, and they can inspect roughly 100 hives every 45 minutes.
While some dogs operate in cooler seasons when the bees are less active, there are custom bee suits for canines in more tricky situations…and they’re just as adorable as you’re imagining.