HeroRAT Baraka searches a box for landmines

About Baraka

Name: Baraka (BAH-RAH-KAH)
Sex: Male
Species: African giant pouched rat
Scientific Name:
Cricetomys ansorgei
Date of Birth: 4 August 2022
Job title: Mine Detection Rat
Birthplace: Morogoro, Tanzania
Current Location: Angola
Length: 77cm
Weight: 1218g
Favorite food: Peanuts
Personality: Playful and curious



Baraka was trained as a Mine Detection Rat or ‘HeroRAT’ for short. HeroRATs like Baraka use their remarkable sense of smell to safely sniff out explosives faster and more accurately than existing methods. When he graduated, he was deployed to APOPO's Angola operations.

Protecting Children

According to the UN landmines represent “an insidious and persistent danger” to children affected by war. Children are particularly vulnerable to landmines as they are curious. Baraka and the HeroRAT teams help keep children safe from harm.

Animal Welfare

We treat Baraka and our other rats like the heroes they are. All HeroRATs receive regular health check-ups, balanced fresh food, and regular exercise and enrichment. HeroRATs are too light to trigger landmines. No animal has ever been harmed in operations.


1. Rodents are the biggest order of mammals, with more than 2,000 species. Among these, APOPO selected the African giant pouched rat or Cricetomys ansorgei for scent detection.

2. They get their name from their large size, which is roughly equal to a small cat, and cheek pouches (similar to hamsters) that they use to store and carry food.

3. It takes around a year to fully train a HeroRAT. By the end they can search an area the size of a tennis court in 30 minutes. 

4. APOPO’s HeroRATs ignore scrap metal and only go for the scent of explosives, making landmine detection rats much faster at finding landmines than humans with metal detectors.

5. Thanks to the dedication and tireless hard work of our mine action teams, and the generous support of APOPO’s partners and donors, over 2.2 million people feel the impact of our work.


Welcome Pack

A digital welcome pack stacked full of inside info, pictures, facts and stories that will tell you everything you need to know about your adoption rat.

Adoption Certificate

A digital one page certificate of adoption with your name on it. Easy to print and frame for your desk or wall.

Impact Updates

Monthly updates direct to your email inbox to keep you up to date with the latest news and information from the field.


The quickest way to find answers to your questions is to take take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page.
If you need help please email us at: herorats@apopo.org