We’ve all seen stories of animals that have been trained to help humans. We’ve heard of carrier pigeons, rescue dogs, and medical service animals. Now, meet the bomb-sniffing rat.
Pouch rats in Cambodia are replacing dogs used to sniff out explosives.
Their small size and agility, combined with their extraordinary sense of smell, makes these pouch rats an ideal, if unexpected, service animal. Of course, these aren’t the only service rats. As seen in this article, rats are being used in ways that were normally reserved for more conventional pets.
Not everyone is OK with some of these unconventional service animals. Daniel Green has a seizure-sensing red-tailed boa constrictor named Redrock and is dealing with legal challenges because it is not considered an approved service animal.
We hope that Cambodia’s heroic rats will help people to appreciate that any creature can connect with humans, even if it seems a little weird.