Norman – male Gambian pouched rat (Cricetomys gambianus)
Norman is a S T A R!!! He has been featured on many TV programmes (living up to his name of CBBC Norman), and featured on both series of Deadly Days Out, when he and James McKay worked with Steve Backshall and Naomi Wilkinson. He is a very important member of The Animal Roadshow visiting schools, colleges and universities and also public events such as county shows, carnivals etc.
Gambian pouched rats (GPR) are only distantly related to the true rats, being closer to the hamsters, and are named due to their large cheek pouches; they are one of the largest species of rat known to Man. Females of the species may be capable of producing up to 10 litters each year. GPRs are nocturnal.
A Tanzanian social enterprise founded by two Belgians, called APOPO, trains Gambian pouched rats to detect land mines and tuberculosis with their highly developed sense of smell, calling the trained pouched rats HeroRATS.