The creatures have keen senses of smell which could be harnessed for use by the police and military researchers believe.
Rats in Rostov-on-Don at the Laboratory of Olfactory Perception (LOP) have been shown with electrodes attached to their brains.
Dmitry Medvedev, the Head of the LOP, said, “Unlike a dog, a rat can get through the smallest crack where it seems it couldn't go.
“This way it could find its way deep under rubble and by its brain activity one could understand if there are, for example, people who are still alive, if it's worth clearing debris here or at another place, to rescue people more quickly”.
The scientists have discovered that rats differentiate between types of tea leaves through smell.
The experts admit, however, that it could be years before the rats are used for real-life work.
‘Sniffer rats' are already used in parts of Africa to detect land mines and tuberculosis.