Meet The Heroic Bomb-Sniffing Rat In Africa Who Is Saving Thousands Of Lives

Clearing a minefield involves men in body armor walking in very precise lines with metal detectors. In 2013, it was estimated that there was a global average of around nine mine-related deaths every day. The situation is especially dire in Africa.Anything that sets the detectors off must be investigated before moving on. A new method of bomb detection using rats, however, is flipping this process on its head.

A Belgian NGO called APOPO has developed a way to train African pouched rats to sniff out bombs quickly and safely.
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
They used this rat because it has an incredibly fine-tuned sense of smell and a long lifespan (8-9 years) to yield returns on the nine months of training they undergo.
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
They’re called HeroRats, and not one has died in the line of duty since the program started in 1997.
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
The average mine requires 5 kg (roughly 11 pounds) of weight to trigger an explosion, but even the biggest of these rats are only around 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds).
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
Since they’re trained to sniff out explosives exclusively, they aren’t distracted by other metal objects the way human minesweepers are.
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
They can effectively search 200 square meters in less than 20 minutes.
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
A team of humans would need around 25 hours to do the same job.
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
Since they’re in the African sun a lot, the  Hero Rats get sunscreen to keep them cancer free.
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
If a rat does get cancer, it receives full medical treatment.
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
The rats are “paid” in avocados, peanuts, bananas and other yummy, healthy treats.
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
After about 4-5 years on the job (or whenever they lose interest in working), they’re allowed to retire.
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
Retirement consists of eating all the tasty fruit their little hero hearts desire.
Bomb-Sniffing Rats Of Africa
If you’d like to learn more please visit the APOPO website, where you can also adopt a HeroRat for just $7 per month or $84 per year.

(Source)

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