Agouti

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Agouti or Aguti is the common name of Dasyprocta aguti, a terrestrial rodent of the size of a rabbit.

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Public domain picture from Webster's Dictionary, 1911 full size image


It is common to Trinidad and Guiana, and classed in the family Caviidae. Under the same term may be included the other species of Dasyprocta, of which there are about ten in tropical America.

Agoutis are slender-limbed rodents, with five front and three hind toes (the first front toe very minute), and very short tails. The hair, especially on the hind-quarters, is coarse and somewhat rough; the colour being generally rufous brown. The molar teeth have cylindrical crowns, with several islands and a single lateral fold of enamel when worn.

In habits agoutis are nocturnal, dwelling in forests, where they conceal themselves during the day in hollow tree-trunks, or in burrows among roots. Active and graceful in their movements, their pace is either a kind of trot or a series of springs following one another so rapidly as to look like a gallop. They take readily to water, in which they swim well.

Their food comprises leaves, roots, nuts and other fruits. They do much harm to plantations of sugar-cane and bananas.

In captivity the females produce only one or two young at a birth.


The Mammalia page puts the agouti in Order Hyracoidea, which contradicts the statement above that they are rodents. Is this just a mistake (here, or there) or could it be that this page was originally scavenged from a 1911 Encyclopedia, and the classification has changed since then?