Have you ever heard of the African Pouched Rat? They are enormous, three-foot long rodents with a very acute sense of smell. Their talent has caught the attention of the US government, and are now hired by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in aiding in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
A pilot project in Tanzania aims to test whether these rats can distinguish illegal biological product shipments by smell. If successful, the US Fish and Wildlife Department states that this can lead to a “much larger project to mainstream rats as an innovative tool in combating illegal wildlife trade.”
However, these are not the first poached rats to aid in the field of science. NPR’s rat named Chewa is able to diagnose tuberculosis by smelling spectrum samples. The same organization, APOPO, trains rats to identify TNT through smell, being a great help to locate land mines.
What are some other unique animals that have extraordinary sensory receptors?