Now we know why God made rats. It was to rescue us humans from our own folly – our terrible invention of anti-personnel land mines. These were cruelly buried near the surface of the large areas of land in Angola and Mozambique.
How to find them now the conflict is over? Well the answer is to sniff them out. African giant pouched rats can grow as large as cats. It turns out they have a fantastic sense of smell and can be trained to detect the mines from the scent. The rats are not heavy enough to detonate the explosives but when they find one, they signal by scratching frantically and are rewarded with fruit.
More than 13,000 mines have been found so far in this way reclaiming more than 1,100 hectares of land.