Forget Dogs: These Rats Could Be the Future of Search and Rescue

Slashdot reader sciencehabit writes: Think search and rescue animal, and you're likely to picture a dog in an orange vest. But a Tanzanian nonprofit wants you to imagine something else: the African giant pouched rat. Donna Kean and her colleagues at APOPO, a nonprofit that trains pouched rats to save lives, have spent the past 2 decades working with the curious animals (Cricetomys ansorgei) to sniff out tuberculosis and track down land mines. Now, they're moving on to search and rescue. Science caught up with Kean to chat about the new project, known as RescueRats. Topics include, just how to train a rat, what advantages they have over dogs, and whether people would be freaked out about a rodent coming to save them.

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