Prof Belmain added: "Some people keep African pouched rats
as pets, which do get that big.
This is a Gambian pouched rat
, a breed almost 3 feet from nose to tail, the kind of rat that gives cats nightmares.
Since 2008, around 80 Gambian giant pouched rats
have been trained to sniff out the killer disease TB.
APOPO, a Belgian charity, already uses the African giant pouched rat
, which can grow up to three feet long, to detect land mines.
student Kenny Hicks, 17, with Gambian giant pouched rat
And now they have ordered and paid for meerkats, raccoons, marmoset monkeys, rhea, deer, Gambian pouched rats
, prairie dogs and dumbo mice.
It seems the African giant pouched rat
(Cricetomys gambianus)can reliably identify a specific smell in the saliva of patients with TB.
The problem, of course, is in finding the mines, and that's where the African pouched rat
is making a name for itself.
The monkeypox virus was apparently brought to this country by a Gambian giant pouched rat
imported by a Chicago-area exotic pets dealer.
A company near Chicago that buys and sells exotic pets simultaneously held a sick Gambian giant pouched rat
and some prairie dogs, Hull says.
Too light to set off an explosion, a giant pouched rat
can sniff out buried mines, then scratch the ground to indicate their location.
The virus apparently came to this country through a Gambian giant pouched rat
imported by a Chicago-area pet dealer.
The Gambian giant pouched rat
is deployed to remove more than 100 million landmines left behind from conflicts that kill or maim around 50 innocent people every day.
African Giant Pouched Rats
, trained by Belgian charity APOPO, are known for sniffing out landmines in countries from Angola to Cambodia and for detecting TB cases in East Africa.
Giant African pouched rats
have a highly sensitive sense of smell and are trained to detect bacteria and explosive TNT.