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Update: Magawa The HeroRAT Retires

June 11, 2021
Magawa wearing his medal
(Photo Courtesy of PDSA)

He may be a rodent, but he’s a hero. Magawa is an African giant pouched rat also known as a HeroRAT. Last year, he was awarded a very special prize that’s only given to animals for their “extraordinary bravery and exceptional devotion to duty.” Magawa was given a gold medal for his work in detecting land mines, which are dangerous explosive devices that have caused tens of thousands of injuries in Cambodia. After five years of service, APOPO, the organization that trained Magawa, announced that the heroic rat will be retiring from his life-saving work. Thank you for saving so many lives, Magawa! Enjoy your well-deserved retirement.

1. If you’re interested in learning more about African giant pouched rats, here are five fascinating facts about these intelligent rodents.

2. African giant pouched rats can reach up to three-feet long, half of which is the length of their long, hairless tails.

3. HeroRATs are called pouched rats because they can store food in their cheeks, like chipmunks do.
4. On average, HeroRATS live for seven years.

5. African giant pouched rats are omnivores, but their favorite treats are palm fruits and palm kernels.

6. Although HeroRATs have poor eyesight, they have a keen sense of smell and really good hearing.