EcoDogs Help Find Snakes

Charm here is an EcoDog trained to find invasive root fungi.

I swear, dogs can do anything.

Apparently there is a massive infestation of Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades, thanks to a combination of irresponsible pet owner dumping the snakes and Hurricane Andrew destroying an exotic pet warehouse in 1992 (according to the New York Times).

Luckily, the EcoDogs came to the rescue.

The EcoDogs are an amazing project created by Alabama’s Auburn University, and finding snakes isn’t all they can do.

According to the website for the EcoDogs:

The purpose of the project is to train detection dogs to find plant and animal species, or their sign, in the field for the benefit of ecological research, management, or conservation.

The dogs involved with the project, like Charm pictured above, are trained to find very specific scents, such as the skat or rare and invasive animals, or a root fungi that is killing the pine trees in Alabama.

Interestingly, one of the most popular thoughts about working dogs is that the smartest dog is the best. According to the New York Times article about the EcoDogs, it’s actually the “dumb but hard working” dogs that are the best.

“The worst dog is a really smart but kinda lazy dog. Because that dog is always trying to figure out how he can cheat. Once you reward him for cheating, he’s done. He’ll never work again. The best dogs are the ones that are kind of dumb but just work really hard. We can train those dogs to work all day long and they’re the best detection dogs,” Steury said.

Amazing. I think it’s quite possible that I might have a good candidate for them here sleeping on my sofa.

Sadly, she’s only trained to sniff out waffles. Ah well.

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