Gambian pouched rats are currently being used by an organisation called APOPO to sniff out landmines (thus saving human lives).  APOPO list their reasons for choosing rats for this very important task as being :

The idea of using rats for the detection of landmines came as a result of a search for a cheap and efficient mine detector that would be able to detect both metal and plastic cased landmines.

 Despite extensive research efforts during the last decade, the only alternative technology that made its way to the field was the use of mine detection dogs.

Rats however, show significant potential to be good mine detectors:

  • Rats have a highly developed sense of smell;
  • Rats are easy to tame, breed and train;
  • Rats are small, cheap, and easy to maintain and transport;
  • Rats are widespread and adapt easily to different environments;
  • Once taught, the animals love performing repetitive tasks;
  • Rats are more easily transferred between trainers in comparison with dogs.

As is clear from the above information, rats have a significant role to play if they are given the credit due for their brains and personality.  APOPO are also involved in using rats to detect TB in humans.  See WWW.APOPO.ORG for further information

Exotic breeds available in South Africa

Moonstones rattery has imported several varieties of “exotic” rats for example Dumbo-eared, tailless, Blazed.  For latest information on varities available please go to http://moonstonesrattery.bravehost.com.  Some very good local varieties (Himalayan, Agouti, Siamese, Black rat) from Aurora rattery who can be contacted by e-mail at aurrrraratss@yahoo.com

All natural supplements for ratties

All edibles contain mineral salts that are essential for the wellbeing of our ratties.  You will find a list of tissue salts by number that are very beneficial to your rattie’s wellbeing under the LIBRARY.