agouti (əgōˈtē) [key], name applied to rabbit-sized rodents of the genus Dasyprocta, found in Central and South America and in the West Indies. They have slender limbs with five front and three hind toes, rudimentary tails, and coarse rough hair that varies from reddish to dark brown depending upon the species. Agoutis are forest dwellers; they eat fruits, leaves, roots, nuts, and sugarcane. They are good swimmers and fast runners. Agouti is occasionally used instead of Cuniculus as the generic name of the related paca, or spotted cavy. Agoutis are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Rodentia, family Dasyproctidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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