There are 11 known species of agouti found in Central and South America; and only in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. Agoutis live in tropical rainforests, savannas, scrublands, grasslands, and evergreen lowland forests. Being incredibly shy creatures, they are very hard to document as they tend to dash away and hide at the slightest hint of danger. Read more on these cool critters.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Dasyprocta
Weight: Up to 5 lbs.
Length: Up to 2 feet
Lifespan: Up to 6 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) Agoutis are known as the jungle gardeners. This is because they have a habit of burying nuts and seeds and then forgetting where they hid them. This allows the nuts and seeds a chance to grow. So they, inadvertently, cause the forests to grow.
2.) Sans humans and our devices, the agouti are the only known animal capable of opening a brazil nut. They also do so without the use of any tools.
3.) These cute critters are monogamous (mate for life).
4.) They eat succulents, seeds, nuts, fruit, and crabs. This technically makes them omnivores (eats animal and plant matter). Seeing as their teeth continually grow throughout their lifetime, it’s a good idea to wear them down via the chewing of Brazil nuts.
5.) When startled or scared, they make a cute barking noise and high tail it out of there.
But wait, there’s more on the Agouti!
6.) Also, when alarmed or trying to show aggression, the hair on their hindquarters is raised up in an effort to make them seem larger and more threatening to attackers.
7.) Much like squirrels, agoutis sit on their hind legs and rumps while using their forelimbs to hold their food, while they eat.
Did you know…?
Agouti are actually very good swimmers.
9.) The agouti breed all year long but more heavily during March – July, when food is more plentiful.
10.) Pregnancy last 3 months and typically yields 2 babies that stay with their parents till the next litter arrives.