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Pacarana: Dinomyidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And ReproductionGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, PACARANAS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

A South American rodent, pacaranas' sparse populations may be found in the mountainous areas of a band running through western Venezuela, western Colombia, central Ecuador, Peru, part of western Brazil, and into northwestern Bolivia.

In Peru, this species occupies suitable habitat from 800 to 6,600 feet in elevation (240 to 2,000 meters), but in Venezuela they occur up to 7,870 feet (2,400 meters). Pacaranas live in montane forests and rainforest valleys of the Andes Mountains. They prefer to live in cracks in rock walls or outcroppings, but caves are also attractive habitats.

Pacaranas are mainly vegetarian and especially favor palm berries and other fruits as well as the stems and leaves of tender young plants.

Many native South Americans hunt pacaranas as a food source.

The IUCN has classified the pacarana as Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction. Its normally low population The pacarana is a slow-moving, nocturnal herbivore found in the Andes Mountains. (Francisco Erize/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.) levels, which in past years led scientists to believe the animals were extinct, are especially vulnerable to human predation and to habitat loss from human activities.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Anderson, Sydney. Simon and Schuster's Guide to Mammals. New York: Fireside, 1984.

Burton, John A. Rare Mammals of the World. Lexington, MA: Stephen Greene Press, 1987.

McKenna, Malcolm C. The Classification of Mammals. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.

Nature Encyclopedia: An A to Z Guide to Life on Earth. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Periodicals:

White, T. G. "Dinomys branickii." Mammalian Species 410 (1992).

Web sites:

"Animal Info-Pacarana." Animal Info-Information on Endangered Mammals. http://animalinfo.org (accessed on June 23, 2004).

"Comparative Placentation." University of California, San Diego Medical School. http://medicine.ucsd.edu/cpa/pac.html (accessed on June 23, 2004).

"Dinomys branickii." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu (accessed on June 23, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammals