Meet our Agoutis!
Similar in appearance to Guinea pigs, only larger and with longer legs, Red Rumped Agoutis are members of the rodent family.
They have coarse, glossy fur that is typically brown, with orange to red fur on their rumps, and a little tail no longer than 6cm.
They are important seed dispersers for tropical plants in their native South American region, and they have a special relationship with the towering Brazil nut trees. These trees produce fruit or pods known as “cocos” that can weigh up to 2kg and fall to the ground at 80km per hour. Agoutis have ever-growing chisel-like incisors and are one of the very few animals that can chew through the woody, coconut-like pods to get to the nearly two dozen nuts inside. After eating their fill, agoutis bury extra nuts to eat later. Forgotten nuts and seeds will germinate and grow into new trees. Without agoutis to disperse seeds, Brazil nut trees could disappear, and these giants of the forest (reaching up to 60m in height) provide food and shelter to countless species.
Agoutis are remarkable animals worthy of much praise and appreciation! Please stop by and say hi to them during your next visit.