Long, twitching dark whiskers help it navigate the world. Unlike other pet rats, Gambian pouched rats have cheek pouches like hamsters, and are wild animals that grow to be the size of a small dog (about 4 pounds). âThis is a case where Mother Nature has built a detection system that, coupled with modern technology, can save lives in places where cost-effective and efficient tools arenât readily accessible,â explained Bart. In 2003, the remake of the movie Willard, the star rodent Ben was played by an African giant pouched rat. The burrow consists of a long passage with side alleys and several chambers, one for sleeping and the others for storage. In 2019, a large rat in Germany went â¦ Giant pouched rats are easily tamed as companion animals. The Gambian Pouched Rat (also called Giant Pouched Rat or African Pouched Rat) comes from tropical Africa and is a naturally shy and docile animal. They feed on vegetables, insects, crabs, snails, and other items, but also prefer palm fruits and palm kernels. LENGTH. It can get as big as three feet in length, which seems ridiculously large to say the least. âIâm 90 percent certain that itâs a a Gambian pouched rat.â Voss estimated the rat to be about two-and-a-half feet in length. Gambian pouched rats reach reproductive maturity at 5-7 months of age. The latter is the working species used in landmine and TB detection, and the type that will be joining the San Diego Zooâs new Sanford Childrenâs Zoo, opening in 2021. Among the rats captured in Combsâ research, the average adult weighed 200 to 250 grams. Cricetomys emini inhabits Sierra Leone to Lake Tanganyika; and C. gambianus lives from Senegal to central Sudan and south to South Africa. In some West African towns, Cricetomys has become a âsewer ratâ and has been killed along with Rattus by rat catchers, while C. gambianus is classified as rare in South Africa.Â. They have been known to stuff their pouches so full of date palm nuts so as to be hardly able to squeeze through the entrance of their burrow. Gambian pouched rats belong to the giant pouched rat genus and are among the largest muroids (a large superfamily of rodents, including mice, rats, voles, hamsters, gerbils) in the world. Gambian Giant Pouched Rat Breeders. They breed usually in the summer. They are trained to indicate which hole in a line contains TNT (an explosive) by nosing it for five seconds. Fur and fanfare.Â Â An African giant pouched rat can reach three feet in length, with half of that consisting of a hairless tail. One highly trained rat can check 2,200 square feet (200 square meters)âabout the size of a tennis courtâin about 20 minutes. They are used in medical research and are hunted for food throughout their range. He also offered some reassuring information about the larger of the regular NYC rats. You may not think that a rat is worthy of its very own San Diego Zoo animal fact page, but the African giant pouched rat is no ordinary rodent! The biggest of these rats is the Gambian pouched rat. Weighing 2 to 3 pounds (1 to 1.4 kilograms) on average, the pouched rats are easy to transport, and they are light enough to not trigger the random explosives in field sites (a landmine requires at least 11 pounds (5 kilograms) of pressure to be activated). APOPO is an acronym from Dutch which translates to Anti-Personnel Landmines Detection Product Development in English. Gambian pouched rats are one of the worldâs largest rats. We do not currently have African giant pouched rats at the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today remain stable. The most common kinds of rats that are found in North America run about 9-13 inches long. The Gambian pouched rat is three times larger than a domesticated brown rat! Besides their large size, the most characteristic trait of Gambian pouched rats is the tail which is long, unscaled, and dark in color at the base with the terminal 40-60% white. Its large size has drawn peopleâs attention and has made it a popular pet. As a teenager, Bart had trained his own pet rats to find hidden objects for treats;Â and as an adult, he wondered if rats could be trained to find hidden explosives. They inhabit forest and woodland, thickets, as well as farmland, cropland, plantations, and rural areas. A Belgian nonprofit has found African giant pouched rats are much better at detecting TNT than people or dogs. Often located at the base of trees, the burrows can have two to six openings, which they secure from the inside with leaves and debris. Discounts and offers vary by membership type and can not be combined up to four litters every nine months with. 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