Agoutis here. Agoutis there. Agoutis are everywhere.
Settle in at one of our luxury rental homes in southern Costa Rica and the chances of spotting agoutis bouncing around the property are pretty high.
What are agoutis, you ask?
They are cute, four-legged mammals about the size of a house cat, with chestnut brown coats mixed with gray or white undercarriages. Related to guinea pigs and chinchillas, agoutis have long faces, tiny ears and arched backs, and can be found anywhere from southern Mexico to the northern tip of Argentina, although they particularly thrive in low-to-mid elevation rainforests.
While they are fairly shy when it comes to human contact — when they hear foot traffic they typically go hopping off like wild deer — agoutis are diurnal creatures who enjoy eating and playing in the light of day. Baby agoutis, in particular, will chase each other around while adult agoutis tend to operate individually. They communicate exclusively through smell, regularly marking their territories for shelter and food-gathering locations.
A typical agouti diet consists of seeds and fruit, but their jaws are strong enough to get through coconut shells when in search of something sweet to eat. When they dine, agoutis do so while standing on their back legs, always keeping eyes out for potential predators.
Fun fact, if you find coconut shells around your rental property but there are no coconut trees in the vicinity, it’s highly likely that an agouti or two is stashing them there. They’ll drag coconuts around a good distance, stop to have a well-earned food break, and then leave the shells on the ground in case they decide to visit later. With tiny arms and other important things to do with their day, agoutis aren’t very adept at disposing of their finished coconut products in proper waste areas, so sometimes you have to do it for them — but only after a few days, just in case they aren’t done eating yet.
Agoutis are a blast to watch in the wild.
Children, of course, love to see agoutis sneak around the yard, nibbling on fruit here and there, then sprinting off to some undisclosed jungle burrow, only to return and do it all again the next day. Agoutis are harmless as well, and have no interest in entering your rental house. They’re perfectly content staying outdoors.
These furry little mammals are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to witnessing incredible wildlife in the Costa Rica jungle. To read more about what you may encounter during a visit to the Dominical area, check out previous YouGetHere blogs on turtles, kinkajous, walking sticks, scarlet macaws, sloths, frogs, pizotes, monkeys, butterflies and toucans.
In the meantime, the agoutis will be out in the backyard having a snack.