Giant African rats are being trained to detect land mines in Cambodia

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Giant African rats are being trained to detect land mines in Cambodia
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A rat searches for land mines and unexploded ordnance during a training session on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasability of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: Handlers train rats to detect different types of mines and unexploded ordnance on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasibility of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A handler puts a leash on a mine detection rat before a training session on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasability of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A rat searches for land mines and unexploded ordnance during a training session on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasability of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A rat climbs on a handler's leg after finishing the morning's training on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasability of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A mine detection rat is given banana as a reward after successfully detecting a mine on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasibility of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A rat searches for land mines and unexploded ordnance during a training session on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasibility of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A small leash is attached to a mine detection rat before a training session on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasability of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A mine detection rat is given banana as a reward after successfully identifying an inactive mine on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasability of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A deactivated, Chinese-made, anti-personnel mine is one of many types used to train the rats on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasability of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A handler carries a mine detection rat to a cool, shaded area after finishing training on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasability of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: Tape measures are used to identify where the rat has indicated during a training session on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasibility of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A handler brings a mine detection rat to a shaded area after a training session on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasibility of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A handler carries a rat to an enclosure on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasability of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A mine detection rat looks out of it's cage before training begins on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasibility of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A rat searches for land mines and unexploded ordnance during a training session on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasability of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA - JULY 02: A mine detection rat searches as its handler looks on on July 2, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) working with the Belgian NGO APOPO has recently begun testing the feasibility of using large mine detection rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)
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The Cambodian government is training giant rats to detect land mines after seeing the results of a similar program done in Africa.

Bart Weetjens started the Belgian nonprofit APOPO, to train animals to detect mines. After doing research, they found that rats are much more intelligent than they are credited for, and have just as strong a sense of smell as dogs. Rats are also easier to maintain and much cheaper than dogs.

It is suggested that there are millions of active mines scattered throughout the country -- in 2014 alone there were over 100 land mine related injuries or deaths in the country.

See the fascinating images above of the rats beginning their training in Cambodia.
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