We have a small group of Azara's agouti in our collection.
Location in the Zoo:
Our agouti share an enclosure with the pudu near the sun bears.
In the Wild:
Azara’s agoutis (Dasyprocta azarae) are a species of rodent found in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.
They live in rainforests and savannahs and spend their days foraging for fruits, nuts, leaves, plants, seeds, and vegetables. They are known as “jungle gardeners” due to their habit of burying seeds and forgetting them, thus helping new plants to grow. They are also known as one of the only animals that can open a Brazil nut unaided, using their exceptionally sharp teeth and jaw strength.
Azara’s agoutis can be compared to guinea pigs, but with longer legs. They have speckled brown fur with a lighter-toned underside. They have five toes on their front feet, but only three toes on their hind feet. They are very shy animals and vocalise with a bark when alarmed. If they perceive danger, they will run swiftly away and are very good swimmers!
There is very little known about the number of Azara’s agoutis in the wild, but because they are hunted for food and may have undergone local extinctions.