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Birth announcement: Agouti pups rhymes with cutie pups!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Agoutis are rodents native to South America, and the new pups mark the first birth of the species for Woodland Park Zoo.
Welcome to the world wee ones! A pair of red-rumped agoutis (rhymes with cutie) were born March 18 at Woodland Park Zoo to 2-year-old mom Nutella and 3-year-old dad John Agouti. The new pups mark the first birth of the species—which is part of the rodent family—at the zoo. “We will determine the sex of the pups when they are 1 month old, when we do a complete physical exam to assess their health and ensure they are growing well,” says Dr. Tim Storms, an associate veterinarian at Woodland Park Zoo.

Sniff, sniff, sniff. Agoutis have a keen sense of smell, which comes in handy for a small rodent that needs to sniff out food and look out for predators
Unlike many small rodents which are born hairless and with eyes closed, newborn agoutis have fur and can see right from birth. “The pups will nurse for up to 20 weeks and are also eating solid food such as leafy greens and a pelleted rodent diet,” says Erin Sullivan, an animal care manager at Woodland Park Zoo. Agoutis resemble guinea pigs but are larger in size and have longer legs and shorter hair; they weigh between 4.5 and 13 pounds, and grow to between 19 and 27 inches. The species is native to South America, living mainly in forested environments.

Nom, nom, nom. The cutie agouti pups are already munching on leafy greens, but will still nurse from mama, Nutella, for up to 20 weeks.
Nutella and John Agouti were paired under the Species Survival Plan for agoutis. Species Survival Plans are cooperative, conservation breeding programs across accredited zoos to help ensure healthy, self-sustaining populations of various species. Woodland Park Zoo participates in 111 Species Survival Plans, overseen by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Led by experts in husbandry, nutrition, veterinary care, behavior, and genetics, these plans also involve a variety of other collaborative conservation activities such as research, public education, reintroduction back into the wild and field projects.

Agoutis look a bit like guinea pigs, but with longer legs and shorter fur.

Woodland Park Zoo is temporarily closed following state recommendations to slow the spread of the coronavirus. When the zoo reopens, the agoutis can be found during regular zoo hours at the Tropical Rain Forest.

Boys? Girls? One of each?  We won't know the sex of these cutie patooties until their first physical exam with a zoo vet.

While the zoo is closed to the public during these unprecedented times, the exceptional animal care and veterinary teams, and other staff continue to work to provide dedicated care to more than 900 animals. As a non-profit organization, the zoo is relying on the community now more than ever to help these wonderful animals continue to thrive. Contributions, both big and small, will help creatures of all sizes.

Please visit www.zoo.org/relief to help support the animals at Woodland Park Zoo.

Comments

  1. So sweet!! May they have a safe and healthy babyhood!

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  2. those are truly adorable! how is our tapir doing - hopefully the zoo will be open by the time that baby is born!!

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  3. Video please? I think I saw some of these cuties in Honduras, but the guide kept telling us to look for 'rabbits'.

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