About Baraka

Name: Baraka (BAH-RAH-KAH)
Sex: Male
Species: African giant pouched rat
Scientific Name:
Cricetomys ansorgei
Date of Birth: 4 August 2022
Birthplace: Morogoro, Tanzania
Parents: Nysa (f) + Finest (m)
Siblings: 2 sisters, 1 brother
Education: Landmine detection
Personality: Playful and curious



Baraka is being trained as a Mine Detection Rat or ‘HeroRAT’ for short. Future HeroRATs like Baraka use their remarkable sense of smell to safely sniff out explosives faster and more accurately than existing methods. When he graduates, he will be deployed to one of our countries of operations.

Bred in Tanzania

All HeroRATs are born at our Breeding Center. Rat pups are born in litters of 3-6 pups that remain undisturbed with their mother for four weeks before they begin training. The rat pups begin learning all about the world around them and what it takes to become a hero.

Pavlovian Conditioning

APOPO trains the young rats to find a target scent and indicate they have found it, using a handheld clicker and food rewards. The primary odor Baraka will be tasked with finding throughout his career as a HeroRAT is TNT (Trinitrotoluene).


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. The training team is based at APOPO’s Training and Research Center in Tanzania, hosted by the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Morogoro 🇹🇿.

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 1.8 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