A colorful rodent

A colorful rodent

Although its appearance held to easily hide, the agouti is actually a large rodent. You can easily miss it amidst the vegetation or confuse its for an other animal, either with a cat because of its size or with a giant guinea pig.  However, the agouti is much more than that.  It is an endangered species, very calm and docile. 

The agouti is well known, especially in the central part of North and South America.  In each country it is known by a different name: sereque, picure, ñeque.  Both its meat and its hair are highly valued, which is why it is endangered.  However, here you can see them walking quietly through gardens and even hotels in Quintana Roo and the Yucatan peninsula.

WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?

  • This rodent can weigh up to 5 kg in its largest size and is between 40 and 70 centimeters long. 
  • Their hair is very thick and is lined with an oleaguineous substance that protects it in the rainiest climates. 
  • The color of their hair depends on the animal variety, ranging from yellowish, orange, reddish or gray, and with black spots or stripes in some cases.

But what really makes the agouti’s physical appearance different is the shape of its legs. While the front legs are similar to those of any other rodent of similar size, the ends of the legs have 4 toes with nails that they use to secure food while eating. On the contrary, the hind legs are long, which allows it to make great leaps and go at high speed when it is in a dangerous situation, such as fleeing from possible predators. Its jumps can reach up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) in height thanks to the strength that its hind legs give it. The hind limbs have 3 toes, which allows them to feed upright.

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