Agoutis or Tepezcuintles, like they are normally called, are small rodents that look a bit alike a guinea pig. They can be found from MexicoÂ to Paraguay passing through Central America. In Costa Rica they are commonly seen in the Manuel Antonio National Park. Here are some curiosities about them:
1. Most species have a brown back and a whitish belly. The fur may have a glossy appearance and glimmers in an orange color.
2. They are hervivorous and love to eat fallen fruit, leaves and roots although they may sometimes climb trees to eat green fruit.
3. Agoutis are very small, they may grow to be up to 60 cm in length and 4 kg in weight.
4. They can live for as long as twenty years, a remarkably long time for a rodent.
5. These guys are very funny 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.
6. It can be hard to see in a dark rain forest habitat, so agoutis mark their territory with urine as a smelly way to tell other agoutis to keep out.
7. Agoutis give birth to litters of two to four young after a gestation period of three months. Young are born into burrows lined with leaves, roots and hair. They are well developed at birth and may be up and eating within an hour!
8. They belong to a very rare kind of animals, when it comes to mating they are monogamous. Agoutis don’t have a specific mating season. However his happens with more frequency between December and January.
9. They have a pretty particular shape. While the front part of their body is quite slender, the rear part is more bulky. This kind of physique is an adaptation to living among the undergrowth and reveals that Agoutis are inhabitants of forests.
10. Agoutis are hunted for their flesh which some indigenous consider a delicacy. This and the destruction of their habitat have started to concern conservationist although it is not endangered (yet).