Azara’s Agouti

Latin name Dasyprocyta azara
Class Mammals
Order Caviidae
Family Dasyproctidae
IUCN Status Vulnerable
Habitat Tropical rainforest and tropical dry forest
Distribution Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay

General Information

Azara’s Agouti are rodents from the same family as Guinea pigs. Agouti are shy burrow-dwelling animals. If they feel threatened, their defense mechanism is to freeze and remain still until danger passes. Most of their time is spent foraging in the forest looking for fallen fruit and nuts. They have five toes on their front feet, but only three toes on their hind feet.

Threats: Habitat destruction and hunting
Lifespan: up to 20 years in captivity

Fun Fact

Agouti are known as ‘jungle gardeners’ as they bury nuts and seeds in the rainforest floor which then grow. These then grow into plants and trees. Did you know that Agouti are one of the only animals who can open a Brazil nut using their sharp teeth and strong jaws?

Keeper Notes

Our Agouti loves fresh coconut as a weekly treat. He has a very curious personality and will often come running over if he can hear the keepers shaking a bowl of his favorite nuts.