ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Sure, you've seen a ton of human spies - from Austin Powers to The Secret Service, homo sapiens have a pretty good record.

However, let's not be species-ist about this. Check out these REAL LIFE spy animals...

Anti-Terrorist Gerbils

Where: MI5, U.K., 1970's

Purpose: Terrorist detection

Notes: The li'l guys would sniff out elevated adrenaline in airport security, pressing a lever. Unfortunately, the gerbils had a hard time telling between bombers and nervous fliers, so the program was scrapped.

Suggested Movie Title: The Man With the Gerbil Run


Anti-Tank Pups

Where: Soviet Union, WWII

Purpose: Sneaking under enemy tanks, strapped with explosives

Notes: Obvious animal cruelty aside, the doggie suicide bombers didn't really work: they'd been trained to sneak under stationary tanks (due to fuel shortages) and often refused to get under moving vehicles.

Suggested Movie Title: Canine Royale


Terrifying Robo-Insects From the Future

Where: D.O.D, U.S.A.

Purpose: Information transmission, recording

Notes: The U.S. actually has a 'Hybrid Insect Initiative', where scientists plant small electronic devices into the insect's body, letting it metamorphosize around the implant - making CYBORG BUGS (cybugs?) capable of testing for bio-weapons in the atmosphere or recording enemy conversation!

Suggested Movie Title: Thunderbug


Spy cats

Where: CIA, 1960's

Purpose: Bugging and high-tech eavesdropping

Notes: In a $15 million project, the CIA embedded a microphone and battery into a li'l kitty. After painstaking training - the cat had a habit of just walking off when it wanted a snack - its handlers finally let it into a street near a Soviet Compound in D.C...where it was promptly hit by a taxi. FAIL.

Suggested Movie Title: You Only Live Nine Times


Private Voytek, the Incredible Fightin' Bear

Where: The Polish Army, 1944

Purpose: Carrying munitions

Notes: Voytek - a baby bear found by the Polish Army in Iran - was much loved by his fellow squaddies. He was even given his own name, rank and number, carrying mortar shells and supplies for his comrades. Post-War, Voytek retired peacefully to Edinburgh Zoo, U.K.

Suggested Movie Title: From Poland With Love


Espionage...with pigeons!

Where: The Allied Forces, WWII

Purpose: Carrying messages

Notes: One of the more successful spy-animals, military historians have asserted that more than 90% of all pigeon-mail within the U.S. army arrived successfully. The British Army also gave 32 pigeons the Dickin Medal, the top award for animal bravery.

Suggested Movie Title: Goldfeather


Underwater Sea-Lion Badassery

Where: U.S. Navy, Present

Purpose: Catching intruders in U.S. waters

Notes: Sea-Lions are able to swim up to trespassers and clamp them, enabling nearby U.S. Navy soldiers to pull the intruder out of the water. They are also able to locate and tag mines in the vicinity.

Suggested Movie Title: The Sea Lion Who Loved Me


Bomber Bats

Where: U.S. Airforce, WWII

Purpose: Dive-bombing

Notes: Dr Lytle S. Adams, a dentist, came up with the idea of strapping teeny bombs onto bats and dropping them from planes - the aim being that they would then disperse, causing wider-spread damage. Unfortunately, the distressed kamikaze bats managed to set a U.S. Air Force base ablaze during trial runs, and the project was ultimately abandoned.

Suggested Movie Title: Fly Another Day


Which animal do you think would make the best spy?


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