New Exhibit Opened

A pair of Brazilian red-rumped agoutis are on display in a newly-renovated exhibit at the NEW Zoo. The impressive dome structure that houses the animals is located across the path from the giraffe feeding tower. Agoutis are South American rodents that look somewhat like large, long-legged guinea pigs. The distinguishing feature of a red-rumped agouti is, not surprisingly, it’s reddish-colored rump! Females are generally larger than males and can weigh up to 13 pounds. This species is famous for being the only mammal within its range capable of opening a Brazil nut husk. (Brazil nuts grow packed like orange segments inside of a hard woody shell – it looks a bit like a coconut.) They bury nuts and seeds when the supply is good so they will have food available in lean times. The agouti’s combination of a taste for Brazil nuts and habit of caching food helps the tree complete its life cycle. Without red-rumped agoutis to disperse their seeds, Brazil nut tree populations would be in danger of decline. The two year old siblings, Tootsie Roll and Whatchamacallit, are most active in the morning and early evening hours.

 

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