National Zoo & Aquarium

Hello! I’m a Red Rumped Agouti

Agoutis can look a little like a guinea pig with long legs. While they are not guinea pigs, they are related. The two animals share a common ancestor and are found in South and Central America. Agoutis live in small family groups consisting of a male, female and up to two offspring. As small mammals, Agoutis often fall prey to larger predators, such as jaguars and snakes. Luckily, nature has given them quick reflexes. While eating, they perch themselves on their hind legs ready to spring and hide at a moment’s notice. Agoutis also make a variety of alarm calls and will thump their back feet to warn others of potential danger. Males tend to spend more time in the open and are more likely to be caught by predators.

The Agouti’s chisel like teeth play an important role for the rainforest. They are one of the only animals able to open fallen brazil nuts pods. During the day, Agoutis collect fallen nuts pods, open them and bury the nuts and other fruit to eat later at night. However, many of these hidden caches are forgotten. As the nuts are so neatly planted by the Agouti, new trees grow from these food stores to renew the forest. While the Agouti is not listed as endangered, for their sake, and the sake of the rainforest, we must work to preserve these important yet unassuming animals.

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Red Rumped Agouti Facts

Conservation Status Least Concern
Distribution Central and South America, introduced to Virgin Islands
Weight 3–6kg
Length 48–64cm
Gestation 104–120 days
Life Span 10 years

Learn more about the national zoo & aquarium on our zooventure tour

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Scrivener Dam, Yarralumla, Canberra, ACT 2611

Open every day from 9:30am to 5:00pm

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