Agouti join the marmosets in Animal Encounters

Animal Encounters have welcomed a new species to the Park - Azara's agouti. These small rodents will join the marmosets in their enclosure 'Marmotopia'. 

Five females have moved from Cotswolds Wildlife Park and are settling in well to their new home. Agouti are often referred to as 'jungle gardeners' as they provide a vital role in the forests of South America by burying seeds and nuts - much like squirrels do in the UK. 

Agoutis are the only animal with teeth strong enough to open the grapefruit-sized seed pods of the Brazil nut, so are therefore crucial to the future survival of this species of tree. 

Mainly found in the tropical rainforests and dry forests of South America, agouti are listed as 'data deficient' because of the little information about its population and ecological requirements out in the wild. These animals are considered to be 'at risk' due to the destruction of forests for logging, as well as being natural prey for animals including jaguar, snakes and ocelot. 

The five females are yet to be all named, however as they arrived during the height of Storm Doris, keepers have decided to name one of them Doris.