Kean said: "Rats would be able to get into small spaces to get to victims buried in rubble. We have not been in a real situation yet, we have got a mock debris site.
Dr Donna Kean is behind the unique projectSWNS
"When we get the new backpacks we will be able to hear from where we are based and where the rat is, inside the debris. We have the potential to speak to victims through the rat."
Speaking about the animals themselves, she added: "They can live off anything. They are very good at surviving in different environments which just shows how suitable they are for search and rescue work.
"They are very trainable, the first stage is to train them to come back to base point – they respond to a beep. There is a misconception they are dirty and unhygienic. They are well looked after with us, they are sociable animals.
"We hope it will be implemented, we are partnered with a search and rescue team in Turkey. It would just be a case of, as soon as an earthquake happens, arranging the transport.
“We are the only organisation working with this species, there are other organisations training dogs. We hope it will save lives, the results are really promising."
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