We all need a HeroRAT! – Giving U™

November 21, 2009 – Mozambique via Marin, CA

Murderous Land Mines  

HeroRAT at Work!

HeroRAT at Work!

At present, more than 100 million landmines are deployed in more than 90 countries and they kill or maim 40 to 55 people per day. So basically, every 20 minutes, someone is hurt or killed by a landmine. Africa, in particular, is burdened with a large percentage of the world’s landmines. Mozambique’s civil war, for example, left approximately 500,000 sporadically laid landmines in its wake. The loss of life is tragic, but so is the debilitating net impact of land mines. For example, once a landmine has been spotted the entire area becomes unusable as farmers can no longer farm there and children can no longer play there.  Traditional mine clearance techniques are slow, expensive, and dependant on foreign expertise and technology. 


But there’s a solution

HeroRATS to the rescue! With their terrific sense of smell and trainability, rats provide a cheaper, more efficient and locally available means to detect landmines. One HeroRAT can clear 100 square meters of a landmine field in 30 minutes, which is the equivalent of two days work for a manual deminer.


Why Rats?

  • Rats use their sense of smell to find explosives. Therefore, unlike metal detectors, they can detect both metal and plastic cased landmines.
  • Rats are too light to trip the mines. So they stay alive!  Yahoo!
  • Rats are highly train-able and are being used to sniff out other forms of “badness” like explosives, tuberculosis bacteria, and contraband.

Watch a video of HeroRATS! in action


They get rewarded with food when they find a mine 


My Rat, Ziko

Ziko is an African Giant Pouched Rat.  For €5 (or about US$7.50) a month, I am providing Ziko with food and training for a least a year. Ziko joins 30 other trained rats to find land mines planted throughout Mozambique.  

Ziko’s specs

My new pal, Ziko

My new pal, Ziko

  • Birthdate: March 30, 2008
  • Length: 16 cm (body) 17 cm (tail)
  • Trainer: Shaibu Hamisi Dutilo
  • Personality: Calm, focused, dedicated, and eager to do his job well   Whooooo!
  • Background:  Ziko comes from a very large family. A normal litter of rats is 2-3, however there are five in Ziko’s family. His father Thomas is a demining rat and his mother is from the wild.
  • Notable Accomplishments: In Feb. 2009, Ziko passed his first blind test.  This is the most difficult test, as neither the trainer nor the observer knows where the landmines are; it is only up to the HeroRAT to tell everyone where the mines are.  Go Ziko Go!
  • Advanced Training: Ziko has just passed his second blind test!  He is learning the stick method: One trainer and one rat harnessed to the end of a long pole, which is a bit of a specialty. This will enable him to efficiently search around trees and other obstacles in the real mine field!  U Rock Ziko!


Join me in supporting HeroRAT by:

And, uh, I also bought a HeroRAT thong because…well…             just ‘cause. 


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This entry was posted on Saturday, November 21st, 2009 and is filed under Hot Orgs.

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