Friday, December 16, 2011

Rats !

I know, I know ... yuck, right? Give me a chance and I'll explain why I'm posting about these critters on a Feel Good Friday. I had always put rats in the category of the completely unnecessary, until I learned about the Belgian agency called APOPO training African giant pouched rats to do landmine detection for humanitarian efforts. Here are two awful facts:

  1. 1. There are currently 66 countries and 7 territories around the world affected by landmines and/or explosive remnants of war.
  2. Detection of landmines is difficult, dangerous, costly and time-consuming.
The trained rats -- affectionately known as HeroRats -- have done amazing work and here are some best reasons why they're so well-suited:

1. Rats have an exceptional sense of smell, and can be trained to detect explosives. Unlike metal detectors, they can detect both metal and plastic-cased landmines.

2. Rats are light-weight (approximately 1.5 kg or less) and they will not set off mines when they stand on them (it typically takes 5 kg to set off a pressure-activated landmine).

3. Rats are very sociable, easy to train (they are rewarded by banana and peanuts) and happy to do repetitive tasks.

The more I learned, the more I started loving these rats and last year I "adopted" one as a gift for my brother. I just "adopted" Blossom a few minutes ago. And I feel pretty good about that.

9 comments:

  1. Cutie pie! the rat, not you, although I'm sure you are too. I love rats and mice, that's why I hate having to get rid of them when they invade my house - mice that is, no rat invasion as yet.

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  2. I kept them as pets, and my kids had them too. They are sweet and social creatures, very affectionate. They're really similar to dogs, and very easy to train. It's sad for kids though because they have short life spans.

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  3. Thanks for posting about this...I never knew. I think this would be a cute gift idea for my son. He had a little hamster for several years...her name was Eleanor. We called her Eleanor, the black rat. :o)

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  4. I showed this to my son...we like Cheeky! :o)

    BTW...I'm giving you the 'Liebster Blog' award. Check out my blog.
    http://tweedandtoile.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-first-blog-award.html

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  5. Tabitha: they are cuties and it was good to know they can do so much helpful work.

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  6. Desert Flower: I think that's why they chose this type of rats, their life span is approximately 6 - 8 years if I recall correctly so they're around longer to do the good work.

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  7. My4boys: I'm so happy you found it to be good information! Cheeky is a cute one and your son will get "adoption" papers and quarterly updates on how Cheeky is doing. :)

    Thanks so much for the award! I am thrilled!

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  8. I agree! Think that might be a pic of Blossom, the one I adoped. You know I had to pick her since she has style!

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