(Top) Mountain Agousti being fed in Tapichalaca. (Bottom) One of the animals visiting the reserve. See a larger image of the Agouti (use your back button to return here.)
A family group of these wild Mountain Agoutis (Cuniculus taczanowskii), belonging to the paca family, arrived in the store room at the Tapichalaca lodge in Ecuador recently. One of the park rangers tried a few tasty morsels which seemed to go down very well before they wandered off back into their rainforest retreat.
The Mountain Agouti is a large rodent which is Endangered throughout its range, and has rarely been photographed in the wild. (This may even be the first photograph for Ecuador).
Mountain Agoutis are mainly nocturnal and feed on a wide variety of vegetable matter including fallen fruit, roots, leaves and seeds. Because of the damage they cause to crops they have been relentlessly persecuted in agricultural areas in the past and have been intensively hunted for their flesh which is highly prized.