Red-rumped agouti

Tropical Rainforest


In the Zoo

Scientific Information

Scientific Name: Dasyprocta leporina
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Dasyproctidae
Genus: Dasyprocta




Length: 19 -22 inches 20-25 inches
Weight: 6.6 -10 pounds 8-13 pounds
Maturity: 6 months

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet: Herbivorous
Activity Timeframe: Crepuscular
Interactivity: Solitary
Sexual Dimorphism: Yes
Gestation: 3-4 months
Lifespan in the Wild: 8-12 years
Lifespan in Captivity: 15-20 years

Geographic Range

Found in French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago also found in parts of Benezuela, Columbia and Brazil.


Status in the Wild: Least Concerned
Threats: Habitat Loss


Members of the rodent family, agoutis look like a guinea pig only larger! They have coarse glossy fur that is reddish brown.

Species Specifics

There are 13 different species of agouti. These animals are found in tropical parts of the New World. Do not confuse agouti and pacas. They are relatives but are in different family groups. Agoutis scientific name “Dasyprocta” means “fuzzy butt.” Agoutis are longer and have a thinner frame, and only weigh 1/3 of a paca.

Physical Characteristics

Agouti are prey and they are considered saltatorial (adapted to high jumps up to 6 feet), this allows them to be extremely swift and conceal themselves quickly if they suspect danger.



Forested areas also thick brush, savannahs or agricultural areas with water access.



When food is abundant, agoutis will bury Brazil nuts, and dig them up later. Other seeds, fruits, roots and leaves make up the rest of their diet.

Ecological Web

These animals are important seed disperses.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

These high jumping animals will forage mostly durring the day to accumulate food resources for the night.


Agoutis have a plethora of sounds, grunts, squeals, or even hind foot stamping to communicate distress or alarm. Like many prey animals they are always on alert to avoid danger. Marking their home range with chemical signals is very important.

Social Behavior

Usually solitary and territorial agoutis occasionally are seen in small groups especially around high food sources.

Reproductive Behavior

Monogamous, a male and female will bond permanently and share a territoy. Although sleeping and foraging is done separately.






Agoutis are important in the diets of several carnivorous animals like ocelot, pumas and even large snakes.

Current Threats

Habitat Loss

Our Role

Exhibit and educate

How You Can Help

Fascinating Facts

Agouti are the only mammal that can open the hard shell of a Brazil nut, without a tool.

Agoutis can swim.


P.O. Box 5238

9777 Golf Links Road Oakland, CA 94605