A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.

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The lowland paca can cause damage to crops such as sugar cane, yams, corn, and other food plants, and so it is considered a pest. It is hunted for its meat, which is prized for its exceptional taste. It is threatened by habitat destruction and hunting, although it is not endangered due to its large range and numbers. The IUCN has listed it as of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

The agouti often extracts more nuts than it can eat. It buries these for future use but doesn't always find them again. Some of the nuts that the animal misses grow into new trees. The agouti therefore helps the Brazil nut tree to reproduce. It plays a similar role in the lives of some other plants of the rainforest.

The word "paca" comes from a word in the Tupi language that designates the animal but also means "awaken, alert."[7][8] "Tepezcuintle" is of Nahuatl origin, meaning mountain dog: tepetl = mountain; itzquintli = dog.

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

Image Caption: Lowland Paca near Las Horquetas, Costa Rica. Credit: Hans Hillewaert/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)

The paca is mainly herbivorous, eating fruit, seeds, leaves, shoots and roots, but it eats some insects as well. It generally doesn't hold its food in its front paws as an agouti does. A paca maintains a territory for feeding and breeding and defends this territory. When it's annoyed or threatened, the animal often produces a loud growl, which is amplified by its cheek chambers.

An agouti has long legs. It moves on its toes rather than its whole feet and walks, trots, gallops and jumps. The animal can move very fast when necessary. It's also agile and can jump as high as six feet from a standing position.

associates with others of its species; forms social groups.

An agouti's diet consists chiefly of fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves, stems, roots and tubers. They sometimes follows monkeys around, waiting for them to drop fruit from the tree canopy. Agoutis have occasionally been observed eating insects, shellfish and eggs, making them omnivorous instead of strictly herbivorous.

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The lowland paca (Cuniculus paca) is a rodent that can be found in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the Americas. Its range extends from East-Central Mexico into northern Argentina. It is sometimes called the spotted paca, or simply the paca, but in most of Central America and Mexico, it is known as tepezcuintle, and it has many other native names within its range. This rodent derives its name from the tupi word for “animal”, which can also mean “alert” or “awaken”.

Gestation lasts between 114 and 119 days with about 190 days between births. Pacas are precocial, the young are born with fur and open eyes. Normally, mothers give birth to one young, but she can give birth up to three times per year if conditions allow. More than one birth per year results in lactation periods overlapping pregnancies. Weaning begins after six weeks, but the young start to follow their mothers early and can do so for up to a year.[6]

Gordon Macdonald (author), University of Manitoba, Jane Waterman (editor), University of Manitoba, Laura Podzikowski (editor), Special Projects.

A paca is a member of the genus Cuniculus of ground-dwelling, herbivorous rodents in South and Central America. It is the only genus in the family Cuniculidae.[4] They are large rodents with dots and stripes on their sides, short ears, and barely visible tails.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Grants DRL 0089283, DRL 0628151, DUE 0633095, DRL 0918590, and DUE 1122742. Additional support has come from the Marisla Foundation, UM College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Museum of Zoology, and Information and Technology Services.

The smaller mountain paca lives in the northern Andes and the Páramo grasslands, with a peak occurrence between 2,000 and 3,000 m (6,600 and 9,800 ft) above sea level.[7]

rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.

Another consideration is that it's unfair to purchase an agouti and then keep it alone in a small enclosure all the time. Like other pets, it needs interesting things to do. In captivity agoutis often have a long lifespan, so they are a long-term commitment.

Agoutis play an important role in the life of the Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa). The tree grows in rainforests and may reach a height of a hundred and sixty feet. It drops its ripe fruits on to the forest floor. Each fruit weighs as much as five pounds and is about the size of a grapefruit.

The mountain paca is smaller than the lowland one. Its coat tends to be darker and its undercoat is denser. Its fur is dark brown to black and is spotted like that of its lowland relative. The animal is found from Venezuela to Bolivia. The lowland paca is not in trouble, but the mountain paca is classified as near threatened.

Lowland Paca

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

The agouti is the only mammal known to be able to break open the hard shell of the fruit. The rodents have strong, sharp teeth that can quickly crack the shell, allowing them to reach the seeds inside. The seeds are commonly known as "Brazil nuts" when they're harvested and sold to the public.

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

The mountain paca has longer and darker fur than the lowland paca. Observations indicate mountain pacas are found between 1,500 and 2,800 m (4,900 and 9,200 ft) above sea level.[8]

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

They are normally passive in daytime and forage in the morning and afternoon, but can be strictly nocturnal in areas with many predators. They live in burrows up to 3 m (9.8 ft) deep, normally with two entrances covered with leaves to hide the burrow and to serve as an early warning system. Burrows are often near water, but always above the seasonal flood line. Predators except humans include jaguar, puma, ocelot, margay, jaguarundi, bush dog, boa constrictor, and caiman.[6]

One to four babies are born after a gestation period of about three months. The babies are able to walk and run within an hour after their birth. Agoutis are long-lived animals and have survived for fifteen to twenty years in captivity.

The owner needs to decide which areas the agouti is allowed to explore when it's outside its enclosure. This decision will likely be based on the animal's urination and defecation habits and on the extent to which it can be house trained. Potential dangers for the animal when it's out of its enclosure must also be considered. Harness training is essential for trips outside the home, since an agouti can move very fast and jump very high.

Pacas inhabit rainforests, cloud forests, and sometimes more open habitats. They are great swimmers and prefer to be near water. They dive when threatened and can stay submerged up to 15 minutes. They can also jump up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and freeze up to 45 minutes. They normally move along well-established paths and will create new paths when old ones are disturbed.[6]

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Agoutis and pacas are interesting, rabbit-sized rodents that live in the rainforests of Central and South America and forage on the forest floor. Agoutis weigh up to nine pounds. They're famous for being the only mammal that can open the hard fruit of the Brazil nut tree without a tool. They are sometimes kept as exotic pets. Pacas are stockier animals than agoutis and may weigh as much as twenty-six pounds.

The lowland paca is found from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. They primarily live in rainforests near streams, but can also be found in a wide variety of habitats, including mangrove swamps, gallery forests near water currents, and even in public parks. They have been observed up to 2,500 m (8,200 ft) above sea level.[7]

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

The agouti's hair is coarse and is longest at the back of the body over the rump. The hairs are covered with an oily substance that helps to waterproof the animal. This oil often gives the coat a glossy appearance. The animals are good swimmers and sometimes enter water to escape from danger.