Red-rumped Agouti
(Dasyprocta leporina)

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Physical characteristics and distribution

Head and body length of D. leporina is 415-620 mm and tail length is 10-35 mm. Average weights range from 1.3 -4.0 kg. Coloration varies between species, upperparts can be orange to shades of brown to almost black and the fur is thick and coarse with the longest hairs near the rump. The underparts are pale white, yellowish or buff. Females have four pairs of ventral mammae.

D. leporina is found in a wide variety of habitats and at elevations of more than 2,000 meters. Forests, brush, savannahs , and cultivated areas are all acceptable to the Agouti, the most important element being water. D. leporina may have several sleeping spots which are used during the course of a day, burrows along riverbanks, limestone boulders, in the roots of trees or hollow logs.

D. leporina is herbivorous, sitting upright on its hind legs and holding food between its forepaws to eat. The diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, and some succulent plants.

It is thought that mating takes places year round with most young being born to coincide with the greatest abundance of fruit available to eat. When courting the female, the male sprays her with urine causing her to do a 'frenzy dance' and after several sprays she allows him to approach. The average estrous cycle is 34 days and gestation lasts from 104-120 days. One or two young are usually produced, but sometimes there are triplets. There is one recorded litter size of four agoutis born in one litter. Baby Agoutis are fully furred and have their eyes open at birth, and can run within the first hour of life. Mortality of infants is fairly high. Nearly all babies born during the non-fruiting season do not survive and nearly 70% of those born during the fruiting season are lost after it is over both to starvation and predation by male coatis who may become carnivorous when vegetative food sources are low. Without these pressures, D. leporina has a relatively long life span.

D. leporina is found in Venezuela, Guianas, Brazil and has been introduced in the Lesser Antilles.

Description of the brain

Animal source and preparation
All specimens collected followed the same preparation and histological procedure.

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