The little rodents found in the rain forests of Central America, northern Latin America & some Caribbean Islands
which have the genus Dasyprocta are known as the Agouti. Agoutis have many species. One is the Central American species which binomial name is Dasyprocta punctata.
The average length of the agouti with its tail is 41 to 62 centimeter while the tail length could be the range of 1 to 3.5 centimeter. They can be weighted around 1.3 to 4.0 kgs. Agoutis are typically slim. Its tiny fur coated skin varies from yellowish-brown to deep dark brown with various lighter shades. Some species have strips. The coarse hair from their back is raised when they alarmed danger. The oily ingredient of its rude hair made it a natural raincoat. Their short tail has no hair at all. You can mistake it with guinea. It has 5 front and 3 hind toes; the first of the toes is exceptionally small. Instead of flat footed like many of their relative rodents, they walk on their toes. This walking style made them authentic.
Agoutis are commonly seen in wooded areas and forest in Central and Northern territory of Latin America. They are found in savannas, rainforests & cultivated fields which depends on the species. They are mostly found in under bushes, around dead large trees logs, near swamps, channels & rivers. They dig tunnel under bushes or fallen trees. You can also found them concealed at night in hollow of a tree or the burrows hidden by the roots. Though they live in dry place, they can also good as a swimmer. They are naturally shy animals in the wild, flee in the presence of human but they can be trained. Agoutis are terrestrial animals. Just like some species of mammals agouti announce its territory with urine. The smell of urine keeps other agoutis to enter ones territory. They use their forefeet to clean up their body and comb their hair. Agoutis are diurnal, but they also hovering at night if there are too much predator around their territory. Jaguar, coatimundis, ocelots, snake and jaguarondis are their predators.
Agoutis are monogamous. An agouti mates with its pair agouti for life. The agouti male sprays urine to its pair female as a necessity before mate possession. The gestation period of agouti is three to four months. They breed throughout all the seasons, majority of them are born when there are plenty of fruits around (March –July). They typically breed 1 to 4 broods of weigh about 08 oz. They breed their babies in the leaf lined, root covered burrows. After an hour later the young agouti is able to run. Their mother nurses them for about four months and this nursing time the fathers are away from their home. In about 16 month, agoutis reach their maturity. Agoutis can live for 20 years while averagely they live 14 years of lifespan.
Agoutis have a very keen nose and sharp hearing sense which help to survive from predators. It can make high pitch noise. They can run very fast when attacked. Agouti can hop up to nearly 2 meter (6 feet) in air from ground. Their favorite food is the fallen fruit. Its sharp ears can hear the sound of the hit of the fallen fruits. They also like vegetable, leaves and nuts. The agoutis just like other rodents’ eats upright, food in their forepaws while standing on hind legs. They buried the extra foods under the earth for future food. If they never return to it, the nuts might grow which help to create rain forest. That’s the fact thet are known as the gardener of rain forest.
Agoutis have very special teeth to gnaw very hard items. Their teeth designed by enamel, twisted in layers that make them so strong that they can break castanhas (Brazil Nuts). Agouti is the only mammal who can open the castanhas without any help of other tools. It helps to survive the castanhas trees by store them under ground.