Gambian Pouched Rat
|by Marcia Malory|
The Gambian pouched rat, also known as the African giant pouched rat, grows to be about 15 inches long.
Its natural home is in Africa, but there are feral rats in the Florida Keys.
The Gambian pouched rat lives in underground burrows in forests and thickets.
Colonies of these animals work together to collect, transport and store food.
Their diet is mostly vegetarian, but they will also eat invertebrates, such as snails and insects.
They have cheek pouches, which they use for carrying surplus food.
The Gambian pouched rat does not have good eyesight, but its sense of hearing and sense of smell are acute.
Gambian pouched rats are sometimes kept as pets.
Some Gambian pouched rats, known as HeroRATS have been trained to detect landmiles and to identify samples of human sputum that contain tuberculosis.