A Bomb-Sniffing Rat

by | Oct 7, 2020

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You’ve heard of bomb-sniffing dogs. Well, how about a rat?

For the first time, a rat has won a British charity’s top civilian award for animal bravery. The task? Finding unexploded landmines in Cambodia.

In the past seven years, the Giant African Pouched Rat has discovered 39 landmines and 28 other explosive devices. He was trained by a Belgian organization that teaches rats to sniff out anything dangerous.

While many rodents can be trained to detect certain smells, and be enticed by food, the organization decided this breed was the best. Their size allows them to walk across mine fields without triggering them and can do it faster than people. They also have a longer life span than other rodents.

The gold medal award was given by The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a free veterinary clinic that has honored heroic animals since 1943.

The medal has only been given out for the past 18 years, and this is the first time a rat has been so honored. Other medal winners include 32 pigeons, four horses and a cat.

Brian Banmiller

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CBS News Radio national business journalist Brian Banmiller has spent more than 40 years in the news industry, covering business, politics and the economy on television, radio and in print. Currently, his “Banmiller on Business” reports are delivered to an audience of millions nationwide.

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