Common Name: Paca
Range: Pacas are normally found from south of Mexico to north of Argentina. They rages from Bolivia, Brazil, Belize, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, French Guiana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, Trinidad, Suriname and Venezuela. It is very rare that you can spot paca in open area. However, you can find these pacas in the protected areas and national reserves of Costa Rica. They can be seen in Santa Rosa National Park Corcovado National Park, , La Selva, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve; Children’s Eternal Rainforest; and may be found in San Vito.
Size: It’s length is about 2 feet.
Weight: Pacas range from about 9 to 26 pounds in weight.
Diet: In captivity, Both the species of Pacas are omnivores and they consume mostly fruit , plant and flash but their diet can be changed right through its range and all is based on the seasons. Added foods include seeds, roots, leaves, flowers and buds. In wild, pacas are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants. Pacas in zoos eat vegetables, fruits, lizards, raw meat, and insects.
Average life span: Paca maximum longevity is 16 years.
Habitat: Pacas generally live in tropical rainforests but they are also available in a different environment and variety of woodland habitats, including mangrove swamps, dense and semi-dense forest, upland scrub, and along with narrow river banks. They live in a simple tubular warren, dug about 2 meters under the ground surface. He remains in his hideaway during the day, and leaves home only at night in search for food and water.
Breeding/Reproduction: Mating seasons appears to vary. In several areas of Mexico, the pacas emerge to mate during the winter season, but in Colombia there is no specific time for mating.The female Paca usually gives birth to one offspring, the gestation period is about 114 to 119 days. There is possibility that female may have to pregnancies during the year. The young’s can sexually mature in one year of age. The youth will stay with their mothers for about 3 months on average before leaving out on their own.
The spotted paca, also known as the lowland paca, is a species of large rodents found in sup-tropical and tropical regions of Central Mexico to North of Argentina. Although known as the spotted paca in Costa Rica, it has various names, such as jaleb, jochi pintado, boruga, labba, lapa etc. An adult spotted paca weighs between 6-12 kilos, has coarse black or dark brown fur on the topside and yellow or white fur on the underbelly. It also has white spots running down its sides, usually in three to five rows. The paca has strong legs, and has 5 digits on the hind feet and 4 digits on the front feet. They also have nails for hooves. They have a short and hairless tail and have a resonating cheek bones, a feature usually seen only in mammals.
The spotted paca is nocturnal and solitary, and is rarely seen in the day or in groups. It is also rare for them to make any sound, as they are really quiet beings. They live in forests, preferably near small rivers. They dig burrows which are about 7 feet long and under the ground. These usually have multiple exit points, to quickly escape in an emergency. The spotted paca will run towards a river when in danger as they are very good swimmers. Additionally, they have exquisite climbing skills and make short work of trees. They eat fruits, stems, leaves, roots and seeds, their favourite being mangoes and avocados.
The lowland paca’s ubiquitous presence, has made it a pest it many areas. The paca will destroy sugarcane, cassava, corn and other crops. The meat of the paca tastes excellent and for these reasons they are widely hunted. Despite this, the paca has plentiful protected habitats to breed in, and hence is in no danger of extinction.