Red-rumped Agouti

Red-rumped Agouti

Golden-rumped agouti, Orange-rumped agouti, Brazilian agouti

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Dasyprocta leporina
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
15-20 yrs
WEIGHT
3-6 kg
LENGTH
48-64 cm

The term agouti designates several rodent species of the genus Dasyprocta. They are native to Middle America, northern and central South America, and the southern Lesser Antilles. They are related to guinea pigs and look quite similar, but are larger and have longer legs adapted for fast running. Red-rumped Agouti have a short tail and small ears, though their hearing is excellent. Their coat is glossy and coarse, colored brown to black, the underparts being yellow to white.

Distibution

The agouti is native to the northeast of South America, and is found in Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, northeastern Brazil, the Lesser Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago. It has been introduced in the Virgin Islands. Agoutis live in a wide range of habitats where good cover exists, especially near old logs, swamps and bodies of water. They sometimes live near humans on farms and in gardens. However, they seem to prefer all types of forests to human-inhabited areas.

Red-rumped Agouti habitat map

Geography

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

The agouti is diurnal, but if it feels threatened it will not feed until dusk. They live in small groups, which helps them to better monitor predators. They live in burrows under rocks, in sloping banks or between tree roots. They can jump nearly six feet up in the air. They often sit with erect bodies and with ankles flat to the ground so that they can run off at full speed when threatened. If they are disturbed, they may thump on the ground with their back feet. They can use many vocalizations, most notably an alarm bark at the time of running from danger.

Diet and Nutrition

The main ingredients in an agouti’s diet are fruit and seeds, though they eat leaf, plant and animal parts when fruit and seeds are in short supply. The zoo diet is made up of rodent chow, greens, fruit, timothy hay, yams and endive.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
Year-round
PREGNANCY DURATION
104-120 days
BABY CARRYING
1-3 pups
INDEPENDENT AGE
20 weeks
BABY NAME
Pup

Red-rumped agoutis are monogamous, one male mating with one female only. They live in pairs or in small family groups of parents and offspring. The male aggressively chases away intruding agoutis and this vicious fighting can result in severe wounds. There is no distinct breeding season. Usually 1 to 3 young are born, after a gestation period of 104 to 120 days. Babies can run at only an hour after being born. It takes about 20 weeks until the young are weaned.

Population

Population threats

This species is under no major threats. It is hunted locally.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Red-rumped agouti total population size. Currently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

Ecological niche

Agoutis are important for the dispersal of seeds, as they regularly bury nuts and fruits in a cache at times when food is plentiful. They are also an important connection in food webs. As a prey species, numbers of agoutis may affect populations of predators.

References

1. Red-rumped Agouti Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-rumped_agouti
2. Red-rumped Agouti on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/89497102/0

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