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Saturday, May 25, 2013

What are Hero Rats?

Hero Rats are giant African pouch rats (aka Gambian pouch rats) that have been trained by an organization called APOPO to detect landmines and tuberculosis in Africa.The work they do is really incredible, saving lives by helping to clear land of dangerous minds and by quickly and efficiently identifying missed cases of tuberculosis so that patients can begin treatment more quickly and avoid spreading the illness to others. This video talks about how the rats do their job and how they are trained to do so and why they are so important.

For more information about this program, visit the APOPO website ( or like them on APOPO HeroRat Facebook Page.

Note that, while APOPO uses the Gambian pouch rat because it is native to the area and well adapted to the environment, the ability to detect landmines is not limited to pouch rats. Our standard domesticated rat (rattus norvegicus) is also trained to detect landmines in drug-torn areas of Colombia in South America:

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