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The agouti is a short-tailed, plant-eating rodent that lives in rainforests of Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. There are about 13 different species of agouti. These fast-running animals live on the forest floor; when they sense danger, they freeze. These common mammals have a life span of 13 to 20 years. They mark their home territory using anal scent glands.

Anatomy: Agoutis have coarse brown to almost-black fur; each individual hair has many bands of color. Agoutis have a very short tail and small, rounded ears. They range from 16 to 24 inches (41-61 cm) long; the tiny tail is only 1 inch (2.5 cm) long.

Diet: Agoutis are herbivores (plant-eaters); they eat fruit, nuts, seeds, leaves, and roots. These rodents are seed dispersers (they scatter seeds around the forest).

Reproduction: Females give birth to one or two well-developed young; newborns can see at birth. About an hour after birth, the baby agouti can eat leaves and will freeze when it senses danger.

Predators: Hunters of the agouti include the jaguarundi, jaguar, ocelot, harpy eagle, large snakes, and people (who eat agouti).

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