Red-Rumped Agouti Fact File


The red-rumped agouti is covered with coarse, short fur which is glossy green-brown across the back. On their underside they have orange-brown fur with a white stripe which runs down the centre. Their name comes from the orange or red patch of fur on their rear.

On the front foot they have four toes and on the back foot they have three. Each foot ends with a sharp, hoof like claw. The legs are long.

At the end of the body they have a short tail which measures 6cm (2.4in) long.

Female red-rumped agoutis are typically larger than males. An average red-rumped agouti will measure 49-64cm (19-25in) long and weighs 3-5.9kg (6.6-13lbs).


The red-rumped agouti is a herbivore. They will feed on fruits, nuts, shoots, leaves. When food is scarce they have been known to eat insects.

To eat food they have incisors which grow throughout their life and are stronger than those of other rodents.

They are the only animal in their habitat which is able to break through the shell of a brazil nut without tools. As such they are an important distributor of the seeds of these nuts through the environment. They will bury nuts to eat and if they do not return to eat them these will grow in to new trees.

To obtain food the red-rumped agouti may follow a group of monkeys and eat any fruits which they drop from the trees.


Scientific Name

Dasyprocta leporina

Conservation Status

Least Concern


3-5.9kg (6.6-13lbs)


49-64cm (19-25in)


Wild 10 years

Captive 20 years




South America is the native home of the red-rumped agouti. Here they live in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.

This species has been introduced to Dominica, Grenada and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


They make their home in forests, thick brush and savannas. They have been observed to survive in degraded secondary forests. In human inhabited regions they may live in agricultural areas.


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The red-rumped agouti lives in a family group with the male and female forming a monogamous pair. They will work together to raise their young.

To court a female the male sprays her with urine repeatedly until she either accepts him as mate or rejects him.

Females give birth after a 120 day gestation period to between 1 and 3 young. Within 1 hour of being born they are able to walk around.

They will nurse from the mother for 20 weeks.

Sexual maturity is reached at 6 months old.


To communicate they produce a range of vocalizations. These include grunts, barks and squeals. They will also stomp their hind foot.

A group of red-rumped agouti is formed from a monogamous pair of a male and a female and their offspring.

They exhibit a crepuscular activity pattern and are most active during the morning and evening when they will forage. In some areas where they are hunted by humans for food some populations have become nocturnal.


Predators and Threats

Natural predators of the red-rumped agouti include cats such as jaguars and ocelots, raptors and snakes.

If threatened the red-rumped agouti will run and find cover. To get away they can jump up to 1.8m (6ft) in the air.

While the population is stable across its range they are threatened in some areas due to hunting and habitat destruction.

Quick facts

The ‘Dasyprocta’ portion of their scientific name means ‘hairy rump.’

They are also known as the Brazilian agouti, orange-rumped agouti and golden-rumped agouti.


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Photo Credits


By Postdlf - Digital photo by Postdlf, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Middle One,

Middle Two

By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE - Red-rumped Agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) in the garden ..., CC BY-SA 2.0,


By Dave Pape - Own work, Public Domain,

References 2020. Red-Rumped Agouti. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 October 2020]. 2020. Red-Rumped Agouti. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 October 2020].

Smithsonian's National Zoo. 2020. Red-Rumped Agouti. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 October 2020].

National Zoo & Aquarium. 2020. Red Rumped Agouti | National Zoo & Aquarium. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 October 2020].

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo. 2020. Red-Rumped Agouti. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 October 2020].

Emmons, L. & Reid, F. 2016. Dasyprocta leporina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T89497102A22197762. Downloaded on 19 October 2020.

Hattiesburg Zoo. 2020. RED-RUMPED AGOUTI | Hattiesburg Zoo. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 October 2020].

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