rats are on the scent of africa\'s landmines
So far, when everything else is eaten, they are restricted to the lab or siege.
However, all of this could change because scientists now believe that this rodent can meet the needs of the people of countries that have been swallowed up by mines.
For half a century, dirty wars have left more than 100 million mines in the developing world.
They continued to slaughter, maim and destroy the land for a long time after the end of the war.
So far, the demolition of mines has been the work of Bomb Technicians --
Trucks and metal detectors.
However, metal detectors cannot track mines made of wood or plastic, nor can they distinguish between unexploded mines and shrapnel.
Now scientists have shown that according to this month\'s BBC Wildlife magazine, published today, mice can be trained as a safe, fast, reliable and cheap way to locate various mines.
Bart Weetjens of Apopo, a Belgian Research Institute, told the Journal: \"People thought I was crazy in the first place . \".
He has developed 300 African giant rats, cricetomys gambianus, Morogoro, deep mountain, Tanzania.
Dogs have proved to be a valuable help to mine-clearing workers in some areas, but they are very expensive to train, and if they become fun, they are big enough to detonate mines.
\"As a boy, I have raised mice, mice and all kinds of rodents, and I like them very much.
\"I see dogs working and I think it\'s logical that mice can do the same work,\" Mr Weetjens said . \".
He chose a big pou rat weighing up to 2 lbs.
5 lbs, despised as a pest in the whole sub-inSaharan Africa.
The giant pou mouse grows rapidly and has a life span of up to eight years and is active at night, meaning it relies heavily on smells.
The mouse\'s sense of smell is at least as good as the dog\'s, and it has a greater appetite for repetitive tasks.
Mr Weetjens used \"click training\" which is now popular with dog trainers in the UK.
When a mouse did what he wanted to encourage, he hit a plastic click and rewarded the animal.
In the end, as long as the mice are rewarded later, they will complete the click on their own.
Rodents are connected to their trainers through long elastic leads, and when they smell traces of TNT on mines, they leave a solid scratch on the ground.
\"We trained them to detect concentrations of explosives that were lower than what they experienced in a real minefield.
In this way, we can guarantee that mice will never walk through mines without indicating the presence of mines . \"
On the first mission in Mozambique, the mouse swept an area the size of a squash court in 30 minutes.
No one has missed me so far.
Over 24 miles of roads in Mozambique,
The National Highway is one step closer to completion.
The mice were ready to travel to Angola and Sudan.