1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Agouti
|←Agoult, Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, Comtesse d'||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 1
|See also Common agouti on Wikipedia; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
Agouti, or AGUTI, the West Indian name of Dasyprocta aguti, a terrestrial rodent of the size of a rabbit, common to Trinidad and Guiana, and classed in the family Caviidae. Under the same term may be included the other species of Dasyprocta, of which there are about half a score in tropical America. Agoutis are slender-limbed rodents, with five front and three hind toes (the first front toe very minute), and very short tails. The hair, especially on the hind-quarters, is coarse and somewhat rough; the colour being generally rufous brown. The molar teeth have cylindrical crowns, with several islands and a single lateral fold of enamel when worn. In habits agoutis are nocturnal, dwelling in forests, where they conceal themselves during the day in hollow tree-trunks, or in burrows among roots. Active and graceful in their movements, their pace is either a kind of trot or a series of springs following one another so rapidly as to look like a gallop. They take readily to water, in which they swim well. Their food comprises leaves, roots, nuts and other fruits. They do much harm to plantations of sugar-cane and bananas. In captivity the females produce only one or two young at a birth.