African Hero rats detect landmines.
Using positive reinforcement behavior that is respectful of the animals, African pouched rats are taught to identify the explosives, receiving treats for their efforts. After months of training, the rats are set a test and accredited as HeroRats if they pass.
The pouched rats are perfect for the job; intelligent with a keen sense of smell, they are small enough not to trigger mines and large enough to be easily identifiable in the field. No rat has been killed in a minefield.
Banana for scale.
The rats can clear two hundred square meters in just 20 minutes. It would take humans with metal detectors five days to cover the same area.
The rats live for up to eight years, but retire after six and live out their twilight years eating avocados, apples and bananas, and being regularly patted by their handlers.