Oh, No! 17 Times Animals Were Used as High-Tech Weaponry

Can’t resist a cat in uniform? Here’s a list of the armed forces’ most unexpected animal allies.

Apparently, police in Russia want to ride around on reindeer. The request by officers in the nation’s Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug region, reported by international news outlets last month, caused the world to raise its collective eyebrow. Perhaps the Russians, stationed in one of their country’s most remote outposts, had watched one too many marathons of The Santa Clause and its sequels, searing visions of flying, animatronic companions into their minds.

But this wasn’t a whim. The police in Yamalo-Nenets have apparently been requesting reindeer since 2012 because they’re the best way to access remote parts of the arctic where suspects flee on their own reindeer sledges. The existing police snowmobiles often break down, and they point out that there are already regulations for the care and use of reindeer in Russian police protocols. Similar programs, acknowledging local terrain and the adaptive advantage of these beasts, exist in Finland and Norway, bolstering the Russian force’s case for felt-antlered companions.

Much as we love to think of ourselves as the masters of nature, these little adaptive advantages have long enticed humans to work with animals. We’re familiar with the use of dogs, elephants, and horses, which stretches back over three thousand years (and we still find dogs’ noses useful for sniffing out narcotics). But as Russia’s reindeer prove, these are far from the only animals we call into service to police our streets or fight our battles. Some of the creatures we’ve used, and the usually good reasons we’ve decided to use them, as our partners are quite surprising.

In alphabetical order, find our armed forces’ most unexpected animal allies.


One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.

It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

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McDonalds sells a lot of coffee. Over a billion cups a year, to be exact. All that coffee leads to a lot of productive mornings, but it also leads to a lot of waste. Each year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff (the skin of the coffee beans that comes off during roasting) ends up getting turned into mulch. Some coffee chaff just gets burned, leading to an increase in CO2.

Now, that chaff is going to get turned into car parts. Ford is incorporating coffee chaff from McDonalds coffee into the headlamps of some cars. Ford has been using plastic and talc to make its headlamps, but this new process will reduce the reliance on talc, a non-renewable mineral. The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen and mixed with plastic and other additives. The bioplastic can then be formed into shapes.

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via Wikimedia Commons

Nike has made a name for itself creating shoes for playing basketball, tennis, and running. But, let's be honest, how many people who wear Air Jordans or Lebrons actually play basketball versus watching it on television?

Now, Nike is releasing a new pair of shoes created for everyday heroes that make a bigger difference in all of our lives than Michael Jordan or Lebron James, medical professionals — nurses, doctors, and home healthcare workers.

Nike designed the shoe after researching medical professionals at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Oregon to create the perfect one for their needs.

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