Oakland Zoo Acquires Three “R.O.U.S.” Rodents of Unusual Size

Agouti at Oakland Zoo

“Agouti are a great ambassador for rodent species, which have a generally negative reputation. I’ve seen many guests admire agoutis and then are surprised to learn the charming animal they’ve been watching is actually a rodent,” Leslie Storer, Zoological Manager, Oakland Zoo.

A new species, called Agouti, has arrived at Oakland Zoo and is now on exhibit in the Zoo’s expansive, recently opened rainforest aviary habitat. The new Agouti cohabitate with macaws and currasow (bird species) inside their 219,000 square cubic foot exhibit, as these three species naturally share the same environment in the wild.

The new agouti group consists of two females and one male. The females, named Crystal and Lauren, are ages 1 and 1.5, and come from the Potawatomi Zoo is South Bend, Indiana. The male, named Cupid, is also 1.5 years old and came from the Buffalo Zoo in Buffalo, NY.

With large toenails and long equine-like legs, these animals are often mistaken for tiny deer, but are indeed rodents. As in the wild, they forage the ground under ‘messy’ macaws and monkeys for dropped food, as they are not able to climb. Like other rodent species, they are very intelligent.

Oakland Zoo’s agouti can be seen daily by the public from 10:00am – 4:00pm at the Rainforest Aviary habitat, located in the Zoo’s Tropical Rainforest section. The Rainforest Aviary opened in March of this year and is approximately 219,000 square cubic feet in size. The habitat was designed to encourage species-specific, natural behaviors in the birds and agouti housed within. The exhibit took several months to design and build, with architects and zookeepers consulting extensively with field experts in avian behavior and…

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