Agouti
Dasyprocta aguti

CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Rodentia
FAMILY: Dasyproctidae

SIZE:
16 - 20 inches long; 5 - 7 pounds (about the size of a rabbit)

RANGE:
Central and South America (Brazil and Argentina)

HABITAT:
Thick jungles to arid regions. Each agouti lives alone in burrows normally dug in stony ground or on bare terrain where erosion has exposed huge tree roots.

DIET:
Wild - Fallen fruits mainly. They are attracted to the sound of ripe fruit hitting the ground. Also stalks, leaves, and roots of plants.

Zoo - Fruits, vegetables, hard biscuits (herbivorous)

ADAPTATIONS:
Good swimmers; well adjusted for speed. Diurnal habits; often seen in broad daylight feeding near their burrows; seldom stray far away from burrows.

Slender feet with hoof-like claws; wiry fur.

In the event of danger they become motionless, hoping to remain undetected. If discovered they bound off and scurry for shelter in nearest hole.

FACTS:
Considered one of the most handsome rodents of the tropical rain forests; have a vestigial tail; arched dorsal line; scent glands located near the anal region.

Native of Central America keep agoutis for pets. Agoutis are considered tasty and eaten by natives also.

In certain areas agoutis are hunted relentlessly by man because they can cause great damage to sugar plantations.

Agoutis are preyed upon by a variety of carnivores.

10 to 20 year life span

YOUNG:
Have two mating seasons each year. Young are born in a nest of leaves, roots and hair. Gestation period is three months, usually two in a litter. Young are born fully developed and are able to run about actively almost at birth.

STATUS:
Common, widespread; hunted for food

REFERENCES:
"The Encyclopedia of Mammals," Edited by Dr. David MacDonald
"The Animals of South America"
"Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia," Vol. 11, Mammals II