Black Agouti - Teeth Strong Enough to Open Brazil Nuts

Black agoutiThe black agouti (Dasyprocta fuliginosa) is a common South American rodent and not to be confused with the black agouti pygmy goat. This black agouti has longer legs than most rodents and at a distance may be confused with a small deer. This ancient rodent has successfully adapted to life near people even though it is hunted by people for meat. Black agoutis can be found in Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Columbia, Surinam, Peru and Guyana. Black agoutis prefer to live in the open savannah or in forests, but can also live in fields and marshes.

The black agouti is not an endangered species. It is long lived, likes each other’s company and can eat a wide variety of foods. These qualities make it highly adaptable to the rapidly changing world. This large rodent is hunted by a wide variety of predators including people, adult constrictor snakes, birds of prey, domestic dogs and ocelots.

Physical Description

The black agouti resembles a large, long-legged guinea pig. The head is blunt and rounded like a guinea-pig’s and the hindquarters are large and round. Unlike a guinea pig, the long, tough toes sport prominent claws.
Despite its common name, the black agouti sports several different coat colors, from a foxy tan to black and mixtures of these shades. The belly, inside of the legs and the underside of the tiny tail are colored much lighter than the rest of the body.

Males and females grow to similar sizes. Adults reach lengths ranging from 16.33 to 24.4 inches (415 to 620 millimeters.) Their small tails add another 0.39 to 1.37 inches (10 to 35 millimeters) to their total body length. Adults vary in weight, depending on how plentiful the food supply is. Adult males and females can weigh anywhere from 2.86 to 8.81 pounds (1.3 to 4 kilograms.)

Life Cycle and Behavior

Unlike many other species of rodents, male and female black agoutis form strong pair-bonds. Both male and female raise their babies. Females have a long gestation of around 104 to 120 days. The babies are well developed when born. They resemble miniature versions of adults. They can run usually within an hour of their birth. If lucky, the one to three babies born will live for 18 years.

Black agoutis are most active during dawn and dusk. They spend most of their waking hours looking for food, such as grasses, fruits, seeds and nuts. Their teeth are incredibly strong. They are the only known mammal that can easily crack Brazil nuts open. They dig burrows under trees, rocks or wherever they can and rest there during the hottest parts of the day.

Picture of the black agouti by Haplochromis, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported and GFDL.

Keywords: black

The Black agouti is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Some facts about the
Sooty agouti

Adult weight : 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs)

Maximum longevity : 18 years

Source: AnAge, licensed under CC

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