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Pacas: Agoutidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Paca (agouti Paca): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, PACAS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

PACA (Agouti paca): SPECIES ACCOUNT

Pacas are found from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. Their range includes Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Pacas primarily live in tropical rainforests but are also found in a wide variety of forest habitats, including mangrove swamps, deciduous and semi-deciduous forest, dense upland scrub, and narrow growth along river banks.

Both species of paca eat mainly fruit but their diet changes throughout its range and based on the seasons. Other foods include roots, seeds, leaves, buds, and flowers. In the wild, pacas are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants. In captivity, they are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and flesh. Pacas in zoos eat fruits, vegetables, raw meat, lizards, and insects.

Pacas are hunted by humans for their meat and are often killed by farmers who see them as agricultural pests. However, pacas are important dispersers of seeds from the Attalea oleifera palm tree in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, and Virola surina-mensis, a commercial timber tree.

Pacas and mountain pacas are not listed as threatened by the IUCN. However, several wildlife surveys show their numbers in the wild are dwindling, due to extensive hunting and habitat destruction by humans.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammals