The Guianas in South America
Moist and marshy woods near rivers and streams. Also savannas and cultivated areas.
Wild: Fruits, vegetables, various succulent plants
Zoo: Fruits, vegetables, seed mix, feline diet, monkey chow
104 to 120 days
Approximately two feet long, with a short tail, and weigh 4 to 5 pounds. Their long legs are adapted for fast running. Although their ears are small, they have excellent hearing. The coat is coarse and glossy, and the coloration is brown to black with a yellow to white under-belly. The agouti is diurnal, although if threatened it will not come out to feed until dusk. They live in excavated burrows under rocks, between tree roots, or in sloping banks. They can jump vertically nearly six feet. They often sit with their bodies erect and their ankles flat on the ground so they can dart off at full speed if threatened. Breeding is seasonal when fruit is in abundance. In captivity breeding is continuous. Newborns are fully furred with their eyes open, and are able to run in their first hour after birth. Agoutis are reported to live as mated pairs until death. There are a number of high-pitched squeaking vocalizations, and an alarm bark similar to that of a small dog. Although they are not currently listed as endangered, there is concern, as they are hunted as a food source.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the RainForest Aviary & Surrounding Exhibits at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.