Critter Science

The Science of Animals


The Curious Tayra

The tayra is a member of the weasel family. There are 9 known subspecies of tayra that range from Central and South America to Trinidad. Tayras live in woodlands and dense tropical rainforests. The locals use tayra for the control of pests, primarily because they eat rodents. The downside to this is that they also cause damage to the farms because they feed on sugar cane and poultry.

First the Stats…

Scientific name: Eira barbara
Weight: Up to 13 lbs.
Length: 28 inches plus their 18 inch long tail
Lifespan: Up to 18 years

Now on to the Facts!

1.) Due to their wrinkled faces, the tayra are known as “Cabeza del Viejo” or “Old Man’s Head” among the locals.

2.) They are both arboreal (live in trees) and terrestrial (live on the ground).

3.) Tayras are nocturnal (active at night). They have also been documented as being crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk).

4.) The tayra is listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN, because their numbers are so great.

5.) Being vocal, they make barks, yowls, snarls, and clicking noises.

But wait, there’s more on the tayra!

6.) The tayra is considered an omnivore (eats plant and animal matter). They hunt small mammals like squirrels, mice, agoutis, tamarins, and also reptiles, insects, invertebrates, and will eat honey and fruit.

7.) Dogs, jaguars, eagles, and humans are the main predators of tayras.

Did you know…?
These critters are able to scale trees like a cat and swim as well as a fish!

8.) They make nests in hollow trees, in abandoned burrows, and in tall grass.

9.) They mate once a year. They are otherwise solitary creatures.

10.) After a 63 – 70 day gestation period, tayra give birth to a litter of 2 – 3 young. The young are nursed for 2 – 3 months.

Now a Short Tayra Video!

Learn more about all kinds of cool critters here.

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Critter Man

With over 40 years of critter experience to my credit and hundreds of zoology teaching hours to people around the world, I have amassed not only a continuing thirst for critter knowledge but a desire to teach others all I can about the majesty and wonder of our natural world. Critter Science is a culmination of such knowledge.I have hands on as well as book acquired intel on all kinds of critters. Whether they're on land, sea, or air.I will never say that I know everything about all animals. That's impossible, even for a savant. But, that being said, ask me any animal question and I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I'll get an answer for you!Let it be said that I have been oft times accused of loving animals more than I love people. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

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