What These Rats Can Do Can Save Thousands Of People Worldwide

mine/bomb sniffing rat

Bomb-sniffing rats might save thousands of lives around the world from death and dismemberment every year. APOPO, a Belgian NGO that has been training giant African pouched rats to detect landmines, thinks it can make this dream a reality. In operation since 1997, their rats can successfully search 200 square meters in 20 minutes, versus the 25 operational hours it could take humans with mine detectors. There was a global average of 9 mine-related casualties per day in 2013.

No Rats have died in the line of duty. An ordinary mine requires something weighing 5kg (11lb) or more to detonate, and the heaviest operational male rats don’t exceed 1.5kg (3.3lb). Furthermore, sunscreen is applied to the rats’ ears to prevent skin-cancer. Once a rat is no longer keen to work, or is just too old, it’s retired and permitted to live out the remainder of its natural life.

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In 2013 an average of 9 mine-related casualties per day

This bomb sniffing rat can detect land mines

They (HeroRats) help clear these deadly land-mines in Africa

This bomb sniffing rat helps clear out land mines in Africa

Not even a single rat has died in the line of duty. Once the rat detects a mine their escort (human) will defuse it.

no bomb sniffing rat died in the line of duty

Land-mine requires 5kg of weight to detonate/explode, these rats weigh no more thatn 1.5kg

land-mine sniffing rat in training

They are more effective that human deminers

These rats are more effective that human deminers

Because they can effectively search 200 square meters in 20 minutes

land mine detecting rats in action

Humans take 25 operational hours to search 200 square meters

reward for the hard working rat

Sunscreen is used to keep them healthy and cancer free

Rat successfully detects land mines

If a rat does get skin cancer, they are operated on

rat search for mines

6,000 euro (6,590 USD) are needed to train each rat


The rats get to retire after 4-5 years, or when they lose interest in working

mine detecting rat in training session

Retirement is spent eating tasty fruit to their heart’s content

HeroRat eats a banana as a reward

You can also adopt one of their HeroRats for 5 euro or 7 USD per month.



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