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Hero Rat 0004

Available Comp Size: 700 x 468 Download Comp
Caption: Hero Rat 0004
Scientific name: Cricetomys gambianus
Location: Angola
Copyright: © Apopo / gtphoto 832-526-1123 gtphoto@shaw.ca
AGPix ID: AGPix_GrTePh23_1779
Digital Original
Comments: Detecting landmines in Angola. The Gambian pouched rat also known as the African giant pouched rat, is a nocturnal pouched rat of the giant pouched rat genus Cricetomys, and is among the largest muroids in the world, growing up to about 0.9 metres (3 ft) long including their tail which makes up half their length. It is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa, ranging geographically from Senegal to Kenya and from Angola to Mozambique. The animals are sometimes kept as pets, but some have escaped from captivity and become an invasive species in Florida. The CDC and FDA in the US now ban the importation of this species. It is also blamed for an outbreak of monkeypox. A Tanzanian social enterprise founded by two Belgians, APOPO, trains Gambian pouched rats to detect land mines and tuberculosis with their highly developed sense of smell. The trained pouched rats are called HeroRATS. The rats are cheaper to train than mine-detecting dogs!

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Graeme Teague Photography
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Sidney, BC. V8L 3B3 Canada

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