Animals / Rodents

The Common Agouti

Синонимы и названия на других языках

Order: rodentia

Family: dasyproctidae

Genus: dasyprocta

Species: dasyprocta aguti


The agoutis are native to Central and South America. It can be found in Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Argentina. Most of them inhabit tropical forests, savannahs and lowlands. Sometimes they are seen in cultivated fields. 

Внешний вид

An adult agouti averages to about 40-60 cm long and its weight ranges from 1.5 to 4 kg. They have 5 front toes and 3 hind toes. They have very short tails. The agouti’s fur is glossy and coarse, colored light orange in shades of brown progressing to blackish. Every separate hair has alternative black and buff banded colors. The belly is usually light, almost white. The black eyes are surrounded with short gray hair.  


Agoutis are excellent swimmers even though they cannot dive. They can leap to a height of 2 m. As most rodents, they are quite skittish and during the day they hide in tree hollows and in holes. If an agouti is threatened, it makes sounds that remind of dog’s barking.

When the agouti eats, it sits on its hind legs and holds food between front paws, like a human.  

Содержание и уход

One adult agouti needs a cage with bottom area of at least 40 cm, but the general rule is, the bigger the better. The cage should be with the solid floor: wire can injure agouti’s feet. Don’t forget that agoutis are good climbers and jumpers, so make sure that the top of the cage is closed properly.

Don’t put the cage under the direct sunlight or in the draught. Agoutis feel best within the temperature range of 17-25 degrees.

You should clean the cage at least once a week.

It is a good idea to install an exercise wheel but make sure it has solid surface. You can buy for your pet toys aimed at guinea pigs or hamsters.

A food bowl and a water bowl should be too heavy for the agouti to turn them over; a ceramic bowl would be fine. Uneaten food should be taken away daily so it doesn’t rot.


In the wild, agoutis eat fallen fruit, leaves and roots. They can sometimes even climb trees to eat green fruit. They stock food in their shelters (holes). At times agoutis can eat birds’ eggs and nestlings and even shellfish on the shore. Agouti is the only animal that can open Brazilian nut thanks to their strong and sharp teeth. 

In captivity they can be fed with commercial food for guinea pigs with added fresh fruit and vegetables, such as cauliflower, carrots, celery, tomatoes, apples, melon. 


Agoutis can move very fast if chased or frightened. They are quite shy animals though they need a company of their specimens, so it is recommended to keep them in pairs or in groups. If agoutis are born in captivity, they are normally very tame, loving and playful, and can be handled.  


Agoutis can get the same diseases as people, therefore they are widely used as laboratory animals.

Average life span is 15-20 years, a remarkably long time for a rodent.


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