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
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.
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,
leporina has a
relatively long life span.
D. leporina is found in Venezuela, Guianas, Brazil and
has been introduced in the Lesser Antilles.