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Heroic Rats Sniff Out Landmines In Africa, Could Save 1,000s Of People Worldwide

Bomb-sniffing rats could save thousands 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 effectively search 200 square meters in 20 minutes, versus the 25 operational hours it would take humans with mine detectors.

 There was a global average of 9 mine-related casualties per day in 2013.

No HeroRats have died in the line of duty. An average mine requires something weighing 5kg (11lb) or more to detonate, and the heaviest operational male rats do not 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 too old, it is retired and permitted to live out the rest of its natural life.

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There were an average of 9 mine-related casualties per day in 2013


HeroRATS help clear these deadly mines in Africa


Not one of them has ever died in the line of duty


The average mine requires 5kg of weight to explode, while most rats weigh no more than 1.5kg


HeroRATS are more effective than human deminers



They can effectively search 200 square meters in 20 minutes


It takes humans 25 operational hours to do the same


Sunscreen is used to keep them healthy and cancer free


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


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


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




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