Oakland Zoo Acquires Three “R.O.U.S.” Rodents of Unusual Size

Oakland Zoo
October 9, 2017

Oakland Zoo Acquires Three “R.O.U.S.” Rodents of Unusual Size

As depicted in the classic 80’s film, The Princess Bride, Rodents of Unusual Size exist. One species is called Agouti—and they’re a sweet and charming species!

Oakland, CA…October 9, 2017—A new species, called Agouti, has arrived at Oakland Zoo and is now on exhibit in the Zoo’s expansive, recently opened rainforest aviary habitat. The new Agouti cohabitate with macaws and currasow (bird species) inside their 219,000 square cubic foot exhibit, as these three species naturally share the same environment in the wild.

The new agouti group consists of two females and one male. The females, named Crystal and Lauren, are ages 1 and 1.5, and come from the Potawatomi Zoo is South Bend, Indiana. The male, named Cupid, is also 1.5 years old and came from the Buffalo Zoo in Buffalo, NY.

With large toenails and long equine-like legs, these animals are often mistaken for tiny deer, but are indeed rodents. As in the wild, they forage the ground under ‘messy’ macaws and monkeys for dropped food, as they are not able to climb. Like other rodent species, they are very intelligent.

“Agouti are a great ambassador for rodent species, which have a generally negative reputation. I’ve seen many guests admire agoutis and then are surprised to learn the charming animal they’ve been watching is actually a rodent,”Leslie Storer, Zoological Manager, Oakland Zoo.

Oakland Zoo’s agouti can be seen daily by the public from 10:00am - 4:00pm at the Rainforest Aviary habitat, which opened in March of this year, and is located in the Zoo’s Tropical Rainforest section. The habitat was designed to encourage species-specific, natural behaviors in the birds and agouti housed within. The exhibit took several months to design and build, with architects and zookeepers consulting extensively with field experts in avian behavior and physiology. The three species were chosen to share the exhibit as they are all native to the same general area of Central and South America and inhabit different layers of the same rainforest.

About Oakland Zoo

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 850+ native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 50¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in June 2018, and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state’s remarkable native wildlife.


Erin Harrison, (510) 746-7120, eharrison@oaklandzoo.org