Agoutis closely resemble guinea pigs, but they are larger and can be a detriment to sugar cane and banana plantations in Costa Rica and other parts of the Neotropics.
Agoutis are found throughout much of the Americas and the Caribbean. Their preferred habitat is dry deciduous forest, wet tropical forest, savannahs or sometimes montane and pre-montane forest. In Costa Rica, they are found in Carara National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, Barra Honda National Park, La Amistad National Park and Braulio Carrillo National Park among others.
Mating & Reproduction
Agoutis pair bond for life. The males, however, are not allowed in the nest when the babies are very young. They may have one to two litters in a year, and the months of May and October seem to be favorable for mating. Agoutis have between 2 and 4 babies in a litter. Agoutis create a nest burrowed into the ground and lined with leaves, roots and other naturally occurring matter.
The babies are born much further along in development then many other species. They can see, hear, smell and walk, and their mother will take them to make their own nest as soon as the next day in some instances. While still in development, the babies then return to the mother’s nest to feed.
Agoutis commonly forage for fruit, leaves, roots, eggs and they can be a nuisance to sugar cane and banana plantations. They are diurnal, and in the night they sleep in burrowed nests in the ground which are often too small for potential predators to enter. They are important to the ecology of forests, because they spread seeds by their eating habits.
Agoutis are sometimes hunted, and they make difficult prey for dogs to catch. They are both fast and agile. They are also kept as pets occasionally, but it is difficult for them to build trust. They are considered of “Least Concern,” in terms of their conservation status, but do face the threat of deforestation and hunting.
Where to see it in Costa Rica: Carara National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, Barra Honda National Park, La Amistad International Park, Braulio Carrillo National Park
Diet: fruit, leaves, roots, eggs, sugar cane
Migration Pattern: non-migratory
Habitat: dry deciduous forests, wet tropical forest, savannahs, montane and pre-montane forests
Size: length=41-62 cm weight=3-4.2 kg
Species: Dasyprocta punctata