Location in Zoo
Lifestyle and Lifespan
Members of the rodent family, agoutis look like a guinea pig only larger! They have coarse glossy fur that is reddish brown.
There are 11 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 “hairy rump.” Agoutis are longer and have a thinner frame, and only weigh 1/3 of a paca.
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.
These animals are important seed disperses.
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.
Usually solitary and territorial agoutis occasionally are seen in small groups especially around high food sources.
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.
Exhibit and educate
Agouti are the only mammal that can open the hard shell of a Brazil nut, without a tool.
Agoutis can swim.