What comes to mind when you think of rats? Disease, death, or the creatures scampering just a feet away from you on the subway? It’s time to rethink everything you’ve ever thought about rats and discover these amazing creatures for yourself.

Rethink Rats Facts

Fact #1: Rats laugh when tickled. In fact, tickling has even been shown to make rats feel more optimistic. You can watch it here.

Picture Credit: scientificamerican

Fact #2: The Police in the Dutch city of Rotterdam employs five brown rats to detect illegal drugs and explosives.


Picture Credit: Shutterstack Picture


Fact #3: A tuberculosis detection rat screens a hundred samples in 20 minutes, this would take a lab technician four days.

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Picture Credit: Briana Marie Forgie

Fact #4: Rats are used as therapy animals for children with developmental disabilities. Their small size may be less threatening to some children, and therapy centers with limited space can easily house a few rats. Watch it here.

Picture Credit: Pam Panchak-Post-Gazette-Jacob


Fact #5: Rats are some of the cleanest animals in the world, spending several hours every day
grooming themselves and their group members. Watch it here.

Picture Credit: Huanqiu Picture


Fact #6: APOPO’s Mine-Detection rats can search around 200 square meters in 20 minutes. This
would take up to four days depending on levels of scrap metal. Find out how it works.

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Picture Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba Picture


Fact #7: A rat can go longer than a camel without having a drink of water.

Picture Credit: Huanqiu

Fact #8: Rats are worshiped and fed by priests and pilgrims in the Karni Devi, a temple completely devoted to them. As Bubonic Plague ravaged the region, rats at Karni Devi kept invading species (and their fleas) out of the area, helping to keep the area disease free.


Picture Credit: krishnasharanam

Fact #9: Rats are very social and affectionate animals that take care of injured and sick rats in their group.

Picture Credit: naesnest.me


Fact #10: APOPO’s Mine Detection Rats have detected more than 50,000 landmine and UXO (unexploded bombs) and helped clear more than 23 million sqm2 of suspected minefield.

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Picture Credit: APOPO



Support APOPO and help with the fight back against landmines and tuberculosis by adopting a virtual HeroRAT from just $7 a month.

Discover three myths about rats and the surprising truth.

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