Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A long-legged ... agouti

A long-legged guinea pig? Close ... same family. It's an agouti, Dasyprocta punctata. "Agouti" actually refers to the hair color being banded or bicolored. Here is a really nice photo from Ben on Chan Chich's River Trail of this rather shy large rodent. They're fairly common in the forests around Chan Chich and have gotten somewhat accustomed to people. They are diurnal creatures (that is, active during the day time) so you have a good chance of seeing one while walking the Lodge's extensive trail system. When alarmed, the fur on their backside stands up and they flee. Interestingly, unlike most rodents, they are monogamous, mate for life, bearing their young in times of plentiful fruit, their main food resource. Not only that, agoutis are very long-lived, about 13 years or so.