Bomb-sniffing rats impress military team
When Army Maj. John Ringquist first encountered an African giant pouched rat in Tanzania, he was surprised by how affectionate it was.
“They’re gentle, friendly animals,” said Ringquist, a history instructor at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., who specializes in sub-Saharan Africa. “They’re relatively charming.”
But interest in the African giant pouched rats goes well beyond their cuddle factor. Ringquist and Cadet Kayla Khan recently traveled to Tanzania to watch the rodents demonstrate their ability to sniff out land mines and see if there is any potential use for the animals in the U.S. military.
“I regarded the trip as proof that they are effective,” Ringquist said.