(Left to right): derekkeats/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0); Piekfrosch/WikimediaCommons

Rats to the rescue! Rodents train to save endangered anteater

Half-meter-long rats taught to detect landmines and tuberculosis are now in training to save one of the world's most poached animals. The African giant pouched rats are learning to sniff out the pungent, fishy odor of pangolin scales, The Washington Post reports. Pangolins are reclusive anteaters covered in flakes that resemble artichoke leaves; their scales—made of the same stuff as our fingernails—are coveted in Asia because people believe they have medicinal properties. As soon as the Belgian organization teaching the rats can secure cooperation from ports in Asia and Africa, the rats will deploy their training, but that process could take another 2 to 5 years, the trainers say.

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