Rat who sniffed out more than 100 explosives to enjoy retirement with bananas & peanuts

Rest well, Magawa.

Guan Zhen Tan | June 05, 2021, 11:27 PM

Magawa, an African giant pouched rat, will be enjoying his retirement after five years of clearing mines.

Discovered more than 100 explosives

AFP reported that Magawa is "getting a bit tired".

The rodent was bred by Belgian charity Apopo, which has been training rats to detect landmines since the 1990s under its HeroRAT programme.

The charity's programme manager in Cambodia, Michael Heiman said: "The best thing to is to retire him."

The rat, which was originally from Tanzania, helped clear a total of 71 landmines and 38 items of "unexploded ordinance" from a whopping total of 225,000 square metres of land.

He alerts his human counterparts by scratching the earth and gets rewarded with treats when he does so.

Magawa will now enjoy a well-earned retirement eating bananas and peanuts, AFP reported.

More efficient than a metal detector

Magawa is able to search a field the size of a tennis court in just 20 minutes — something which APOPO says would require a human with a metal detector one to four days.

Around three million landmines have not yet been found and are littered around Cambodia, leading to thousands of casualties.

On Sep. 25, 2020, Magawa was awarded one of the most prestigious medals for working animals by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a UK vet charity.

The rat received the PDSA Gold Medal, given to animals who show "lifesaving bravery and devotion in civilian life".

The medal is engraved with the words "For animal gallantry or devotion to duty".

Magawa is the first rat to receive the medal.

Top photo from PDSA / YouTube