Acouchi in Bolivia?

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Hi guys,

 

2 weeks ago I had the pleasure of being in the Jaguarland/La Moneda Reserve in Bolivia. There are quite a few tripreports of this place now on this website. I saw a lot of good stuff but one mammal had us puzzled. It seemed to resemble Agouti the closest, but it was much smaller and also moved differently. In my experience agouti’s tend to ‘hop’ while this one just ran straight with no hopping involved. The animal ran 2 times across the path and the second time I managed to get 2 (bad) pictures). I am hoping though that they might show enough of the animals distinctive shape that an ID would be possible. It seems to have a relatively large pointy head with a broad nose and distinctive ears. I would estimate it to be around 30cm.

 

I leafed through the ancient guide to the Neotropical Rainforest Mammals and only one type of mammal seemed to fit quite well which were the Agouchy’s. I could not find anything else that came close. The only problem is that neither one has seems to have been recorded in Bolivia with the closest one to the area a single record in Mato Grosso in Brazil of a Red Agoucy. Other records from southern Peru however were Green Agoucy (I found this info on this website: https://eol.org/pages/42028/maps). It could very well be that this species has been overlooked as it also seems to have been in Mato Grosso with a single very isolated record, but it would definitely stand out of course.

 

So I would appreciate any thoughts on the ID of this mammal!

6 Comments
  1. Venkat Sankar 7 months ago

    I don’t think it’s an Acouchy. The coloration is off, and they should have longer legs (very similar to an agouti in build). At first glance, most likely a Brazilian Cavy (Cavia aperea) or maybe a Lowland Yellow-toothed Cavy. The snout looks a little long, but it may just be the angle of the photo and there are pics online of C. aperea that look similar enough.

  2. Vladimir Dinets 7 months ago

    Acouchies are very popular game throughout their range, so unlikely to be overlooked. Also, they are less tolerant of clearings compared to agoities, and the vegetation in the photos doesn’t look like forest interior. I agree with Venkat.

  3. Author
    Lennartv 7 months ago

    Thanks for your input Vladimir and Venkat!

    Acouchi would be unlikely of course because of the range alone and I agree that it should look more long legged. Cavy seems to fit better in any case, apart from the long snout which I’m not sure can just be ascribed to photo angle although it may very well be that it’s because of the way the animal holds itself. I will look more into that and hopefully I will have something more definitive when I write my tripreport.

    • Venkat Sankar 7 months ago

      Yeah, the snout was still bothering me too… Just so you know, this is another option I found: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/27027535

      I admit it’s pretty outlandish (much more so than Brazilian Cavy), but of all places it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if the Bolivian pampas holds some undescribed large rodents… Now someone needs to catch it!

  4. Author
    Lennartv 7 months ago

    That’s a very interesting sighting too! Another option might be Spix’s Yellow toothed Cavy which should also occur in the area. But yeah I’m not sure it’s a Cavy too… I haven’t found any photo’s which show a similar looking animal.

  5. Vladimir Dinets 7 months ago

    I thought about rock cavies, but they virtually never occur more than a few meters from rocky canyons or at least outcrops.

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