Smart dogs become first in world - by sniffing out and saving endangered newts

The FIRST dogs in the world scientifically-proven to sniff out great crested newts have been put to work by Network Rail.

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Spaniels Rocky and Arnie have been trained by detection dog specialists Wagtail UK to find and protect great crested newts. Network Rail teams in Hitchin have called in the detective duo ahead of essential maintenance work taking place next month. The innovative idea has already been trialled by Natural England.

Great crested newts are a protected species usually found in ponds, woodland or on grassland.

But sometimes they make it onto worksites which can cause delay projects, as the animals must then be trapped and moved safely to a suitable habitat away from where the work is taking place.

Great crested newts are protected by law due to drastic decline in their numbers over the last century.

World’s first newt detection dogs set to work by Network Rail

Spaniels Rocky and Arnie have been trained to detect and protect great crested newts (Image: Network Rail/SNWS)

Dogs trained to sniff out great crested newts have been put to work by Network Rail

Great crested newts are a protected species (Image: Getty Images)

World’s first newt detection dogs set to work by Network Rail

Network Rail teams in Hitchin have called in the detective duo ahead of essential maintenance work (Image: Getty Images)

The idea is that the detective dogs can cover a large area much faster than humans and accurately detect any newts - saving both time and money.

Limit treats to training rewards. This is an excellent way to make sure your dog views treats as special rather than expected. It’s also helpful in keeping your pet from becoming overweight or obese. Feed a species-appropriate diet, and partner with a holistic or integrative vet to maintain your pet’s well-being.

Following a good sniff on the railway and around the worksite, neither Rocky nor Arnie found any evidence of great crested newts, meaning the essentia work can be carried out as planned.

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Great crested newts are protected by law due to drastic decline in their numbers over the last century

Great crested newts sometimes make it onto worksites causing delays for Network Rail (Image: Getty Images)

Network Rail have called in two dogs trained to detect and protect great crested newts ahead of planned maintenance work

Network Rail teams in Hitchin have called in the dog detective duo (Image: Getty Images )Steve Hughes, Programme Director for Network Rail, said: "It’s amazing to see how quickly Rocky and Arnie managed to cover the worksite in Hitchin and check if there were any great crested newts.

"This method will save valuable time and reduce delays to vital improvements to the railway.

“As we work to protect the environment and increase biodiversity near the railway, the detection dogs will help us protect great crested newts, so they can then be moved to suitable habitats.”

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