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From Wikipedia -

The popular term (Common) Agouti designates several rodent species of the genus Dasyprocta that inhabit areas of Middle America, the West Indies, and northern South America. They are related to guinea pigs and look quite similar but have longer legs. The species vary in color from tawny to dark brown with lighter underparts. Their body is covered with coarse hair which is raised when alarmed. They are about 20 inches (51 cm) in length with a short hairless tail.


In the wild they are shy animals and flee from humans, while in captivity they may become trusting. In Trinidad they are renowned for being very fast running and able to keep hunting dogs occupied chasing them for days.


Agoutis are found in forest and wooded areas in Middle and South America. Their habitat includes rainforests, savannas and, nowadays, cultivated fields, depending on the species. They conceal themselves at night in hollow tree-trunks or in burrows among roots. Active and graceful in their movements, their pace is either a kind of trot or a series of springs following one another so rapidly as to look like a gallop. They take readily to water, in which they swim well.


When feeding, agoutis sit on their hind legs and hold food between their forepaws. They may gather in groups of up to 100 to feed. They eat fallen fruit, leaves and roots although they may sometimes climb trees to eat green fruit. They will hoard food in small buried stores. In a pinch, they have also been seen eating the eggs of ground-nesting birds and even shellfish on the seashore. Sometimes they can cause damage to sugarcane and banana plantations. They are regarded as one of the few species that can open Brazil nuts without tools, mainly thanks to their strength and exceptionally sharp teeth. Macaws are also able to open Brazil nuts without the aid of tools.

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Taken on February 3, 2011