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Agoutis: Dasyproctidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Central American Agouti (dasyprocta Punctata): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, AGOUTIS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

CENTRAL AMERICAN AGOUTI (Dasyprocta punctata): SPECIES ACCOUNT

Agoutis are found from southern Mexico to southern Bolivia and northern Argentina. Their range includes Brazil, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, El Salvador, and Venezuela. They have also been introduced into the Cayman Islands.

Agoutis are found throughout the forests of Central and South America, usually in areas with heavy brush, and near streams, rivers, ponds, and marshy areas. They generally graze in open areas and grassland.

Agoutis are primarily herbivores, meaning they are plant-eaters, although they will occasionally eat seafood. Their diet consists primarily of fruit. They also eat tender leaf plants, seeds, wild vegetables, freshwater crabs, and fungi. They have extremely hard teeth, which they use to crack open nuts, including the tough Brazil nut.

Agoutis are hunted for their meat and skin. They are important seed dispersers in the tropical forests of South America. They can also be tamed as pets.

Two species, the Ruatan Island agouti and the Coiban agouti are listed as Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction, by the IUCN. Azara's agouti is listed as Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction, by the IUCN. No other species are considered currently threatened by the IUCN.

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Animal Life ResourceMammals