New Azara’s Agouti Duo at Cotswold Wildlife Park

Close up baby Agoutis

Cotswold Wildlife Park is home to two new Azara’s Agouti babies!

Close up of baby Agouti on log

Agouti Mother and baby close up

Two baby Agoutis perching on logPhoto Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

Jamie Craig, Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, said, “Our Agouti family continues to thrive in the exhibit they share with our group of Squirrel Monkeys. The monkeys can be wasteful feeders and the two new baby Agouti have already learned from their parents that loitering under the trees can provide a little extra food from above!”

Agoutis are one of the largest wild rodents of the Americas. They were discovered by 18th century Spanish naturalist Félix de Azara. The scientific name “Dasyprocta” means hairy rectum. The hair on their rump is much longer than the hair on the rest of their bodies. When threatened, they can actually hold it erect much like a Porcupine does with its quills. Related to Chinchillas, they can jump as high as six feet straight up in the air from a standing position to escape predators.

Agoutis have such a great sense of hearing that they can hear fruit hit the forest floor. They also boast an exceptional sense of smell, hiding any extra food that they may have and later locating it with their nose. They are also one of a few species that can open Brazil nuts unaided, using their sharp teeth and jaw strength.

Females give birth to litters of two to four young, after a gestation period of three months. The babies are born in burrows and can run just an hour after birth. It is believed that Agoutis pair-bond for life.

Continue reading "New Azara’s Agouti Duo at Cotswold Wildlife Park" »

Three Agoutis Born at Bioparque M’Bopicuá


ZooBorns has more news to share from Bioparque M’Bopicuá, in Uruguay. A litter of three Azara’s Agouti was born at the park on October 30th!


Agouti_BioparqueM'Bupicua_3Photo Credits: Photo Credits: Montes del Plata/Bioparque M’Bopicuá

Azara’s Agouti (Dasyprocta azarae) is a South American Agouti species native to Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. The rodent species is named for Spanish naturalist, Felix de Azara.

Agoutis are related to guinea pigs and look quite similar, but they are larger and have longer legs. In the wild, they are shy animals and flee from humans, while in captivity they may become trusting.

Agoutis are found in forested and wooded areas, and they conceal themselves at night in hollow tree trunks or in burrows among roots. Active and graceful in their movements, their pace is either a kind of trot or a series of springs following one another so rapidly as to look like a gallop. They take readily to water, in which they swim well.

When feeding, Agoutis sit on their hind legs and hold food between their fore paws. They may gather in groups of up to 100 to feed. They eat fallen fruit, leaves and roots and may sometimes climb trees to eat green fruit. They will hoard food in small, buried stores. They are regarded as one of the few species that can open Brazil nuts without tools, mainly thanks to their strength and exceptionally sharp teeth.

Agoutis give birth to litters of two to four young after a gestation period of three months. Young are born into burrows lined with leaves, roots and hair. They are well developed at birth and may be up and eating within an hour. Fathers are barred from the nest while the young are very small, but the parents remain a pair for the rest of their lives. They can live for as long as 20 years, a remarkably long time for a rodent.

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Azara’s Agouti is classified as “Data Deficient”. There is continuing uncertainty on the species distribution, threats and conservation measures. However, this species is suspected to be threatened, but there is still very little information on its extent of occurrence, status and ecological requirement.

Zoo Krefeld Keepers Raise a Baby Agouti

1 agouti

In early March, Zoo Krefeld in Germany welcomed a litter of two Agoutis! Normally they would have liked to see the mother raise both babies, but she was not able to provide  enough milk for both. One baby has stayed with mom and the other is bend hand-fed a milk-replacer for kittens.  

At first, the hand-raised Agouti, named Flo, had to be fed every two hours, even at night. The baby has been gaining about .07 to .1 ounces (2-3 g) per day, and at three weeks old tipped the scale at 4.6 ounces (130 g). 

2 agouti

3 agouti

4 agoutiPhoto credit: Zoo Krefeld / Andreas M. Bischof (1, 2)

Agoutis are rodents that live in the rainforests of South America. They are nocturnal and usually live in pairs on the forest floor. They cache extra food, such as nuts and seeds, in holes in the ground which they often forget about. This makes them important seed dispersers for trees.  

Her Name is Rio and She Fits Inside Your Hands


Rio, the first baby Agouti to be hand-raised at Australia's Taronga Zoo in 22 years, is chock full of personality. Born on December 8th, Rio is being hand-raised by keeper Simon Brown, as her mother passed away suddenly after her birth. Keeper Brown is ensuring a healthy transition to life at the zoo's Education center, by slowly but steadily helping her get accommodated to her new surroundings. You can learn all about Agouti's big adventure here on Taronga's blog post about her.





What's an Agouti?

Kind of like a guinea pig, but with longer legs, agoutis range between Central and South America and some of the nearby islands. This baby Brazilian agouti was born January 11, 2009 at the the LA Zoo. These rodents are remarkable for their ability to jump up to six feet straight up from a standstill.

Agouti Baby LA Zoo 1 

Agouti Baby & Mom LA Zoo 2

Agoutis tend to eat fallen fruits and nuts as well as succulent plants.  One of the few animals capable of breaking open the pods of the Brazil nut tree, they have a symbiotic relationship with the tree.  After they open the pods, agoutis bury the extra nuts over a wide area.  The seeds that aren’t later retrieved by the agoutis for food will grow into new trees.