Battle Dolphins and Snake Masseuses: The Coolest Animal Jobs

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Working Dolphin, K-Dog a Bottle Nose Dolphin leaps out of the water
FlickrBattle dolphins: Pray for peace, prepare for war.

The next time you're feeling demotivated in your job search, look no further than the animal kingdom, where monkeys, dolphins, and even snakes are putting traditional, thumb-possessing job seekers to shame.

GOOD Magazine recently rounded up eight animal jobs (as in jobs performed by animals, not working at a PetSmart) that are both surprising and a little humbling--while you were sitting at your computer, Fido's been sniffing out cancerous tumors.

That would be a reference to canine oncologists, one of the occupations included on the list. Dogs have far keener noses than the best-trained physicians (you can't teach someone to have over 300 million smell receptors), so it makes sense that they'd be utilized in detecting tiny, potentially malignant compounds. And while the world is still waiting on a study that proves dogs are as useful in the ER as, say, an ultrasound machine, some of the numbers--try a 70 to 99 percent success rate detecting lung cancer--are very encouraging.

Elsewhere, GOOD explored the world of "battle dolphins" used by both the United States and Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. How paranoid do you have to be to strap a harpoon to a dolphin's back and send it off toward a bunch of frogmen ("Drones that swim," Vice called them). Of course, the dolphins were also used for more benign purposes, like delivering diving equipment and locating underwater mines. Ukraine sold off its last battle dolphins around a decade ago, along with some sea lions and walruses--what, walruses don't make good supersoldiers?

The weirdest job on the list would have to be "snake masseuse," which, well, is exactly what it sounds like. The newest craze in Israel, Russia, and beyond, snake massage involves the placement of deadly snakes (pythons are a favorite) over the victim patient's body, which is supposedly quite calming after the initial, allegedly common reaction of extreme terror. "You can't shout for help as the snake can feel your vibrations and thinks you're prey or a predator, depending on the environment," a snake massage recipient told Metro.

For the rest of the list, head over to GOOD Magazine.
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