Dasyprocta punctata

Order: Rodentia

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

  • Likes to have hide box to feel secure
  • Lots of enrichment to keep busy, food scatter, browse, scents, dirt pans to dig in, large water pools to play in.

Diet Requirements

  • Variety of fruits (apple, coconut, mango, pineapple, pear, grape, orange), vegetables(cucumber, zuccini, brocoli, sweet potato, celery, carrot), monkey biscuits, herbivore pellets, nuts, and seeds

Veterinary Concerns

Notes on Enrichment & Training


Colony or Breeding Management


Individual Identification


Programmatic Information


Temperature Guidelines



Tips on Presentation

  • Best presented on a harness and leash.

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling

  • Flighty and don’t like to be held.


Potential Messaging

  • Shade-grown coffee: The original coffee plants that were cultivated could not withstand much sunlight and were therefore grown beneath the canopy of the forest. Due to the popularity of coffee, most strains of coffee plants have been cultivated over time to withstand full sunlight. This has created large-scale deforestation for coffee plantations. Please ask guests to choose organic shade-grown coffee in which the plants are grown beneath the forest canopy, preserving arboreal habitat for tamarins, marmosets, sakis, binturongs, and birds while the forest floor is being used for human purposes. Look for coffee that is Rainforest Alliance Certified or marked “Organic Shade-Grown”.

Acquisition Information


Comments from the Rating System

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat

Parts of Central America, the West Indies, and northern South America

Physical Description

A rodent that looks a bit like a large guinea pig. Its coarse hair is covered with an oily substance that acts like a raincoat. The hair is longest on its rump. Has five toes on its front feet and three on the hind feet. It walks on its toes. The agouti does have a tail: it is very small, looking like a dark jelly bean stuck on the animal’s rump.

Life Cycle

An agouti pair-bonds with another agouti for life. After a three-month gestation period, a litter of 1-4 precocial babies are born in a nest of leaves, roots, and hair. They can run just an hour after birth and usually stay with their parents until the next litter is born.



Threats and Conservation Status

Some species of agoutis are endangered. They are being hunted for food, the introduction of disease and pollutants, and the loss of their habitat.

Did you know…

  • Its sensitive ears can hear when fruit hits the ground.
  • When there’s lots of food, an agouti buries the extra portions around its territory for future meals. Its keen nose helps the animal locate the food again.
  • They play a vital role in Brazil nut trees and the people who depend on the trees in South America. Brazil nuts bring in millions of dollars each year. If the agouti population declines, it could have an effect on a rain forest’s health.
  • Agoutis have teeth designed to gnaw on very hard items, with one pair of sharp incisors in the front of the mouth. The layers of enamel on their teeth are twisted in a way that make them much stronger. The sharp incisors keep growing throughout the agouti’s lifetime.




Contributors and Citations

  • Blank Park Zoo
  • Houston Zoo, Natural Encounters

Top Photo: By Pierre Benard – Self-photographed, CC BY 3.0,