10 Weirdest Military Animals

10 Weirdest Military Animals

From dolphin spies to bomb-sniffing gerbils, animals serve many roles (including the bizarre!) in the military.  Here are 10 of the weirdest ways furry friends have helped us in battle.

  • 1. Carrier Pigeons

    By The Mighty

    Pigeons may get a bad rap, but these “flying rats” served as military messengers up until World War II. One bird named Cher Ami flew 25 miles with a busted wing to deliver a message, saving 600 men.

  • 2. Bomb Sniffing Rats

    By The Mighty

    Move over, Fido. In recent years, militaries have begun training rats to sniff out land mines. These rodents on leash are cheaper than the canine equivalent, and safer to use given their light weight.

  • 3. War Elephants

    By The Mighty

    In the past, many warring cultures chose elephants as their mode of transportation. These pachyderms were trained to trample enemy soldiers and charge horses, causing mass chaos on the battlefield.

  • 4. Winged Mercenaries

    By The Mighty

    During WWII, both Allied and Axis powers used carrier pigeons to send coded messages from behind enemy lines. Knowing this, England trained a fleet of peregrine falcons to intercept German birds.

  • 5. TSA Gerbils

    By The Mighty

    In the 1970s, the Israeli government placed trained gerbils next to airport security checks in order to expose potential terrorists. The critters could detect excess adrenaline, sniffing out threats.

  • 6. Battle Bear

    By The Mighty

    In 1943, the Polish Army adopted an orphaned bear cub found wandering the hills of Iran. ‘Voytek’ was later trained to carry ammunition into battle, and was officially ranked as a Polish soldier.

  • 7. Spy Kitten

    By The Mighty

    During the Cold War, the CIA launched Operation Acoustic Kitty, embedding a $15M bugging device into a cat in order to spy on Soviet officers. Too bad the cat was run over on its first mission.

  • 8. Anti-Tank Dogs

    By The Mighty

    During WWII, the USSR trained dogs to search for food under German tanks during battle. The dogs were equipped with explosives which would detonate when placed under the tanks, damaging the vehicles.

  • 9. Scary Swine

    By The Mighty

    The Roman army released pigs into battle to frighten seige elephants. This pigs’ squeals terrified the larger animals, often making them panic and crush their own army as they fled the noise.

  • 10. Dolphins Undercover

    By The Mighty

    Did you know that dolphins have been serving in the U.S. Navy for over 40 years? These highly intelligent marine mammals have been trained to locate mines and suspicious swimmers using sonar!