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Abstract. -- The behavior of a population of the Roatan Island agouti (Dasyprocta ruatanica) of Honduras was examined. The population was isolated, semi-tame and approachable. Behavioral characters of the population were timed and an analysis of the time spent per behavior was conducted. The diet of D. ruatanica was found to have some similarities to that of the Central American agouti (Dasyprocta punctata), although this population's diet is augmented from agricultural food products. The ecological communities of Roatan are tremendously influenced by human activity. Consequently, indigenous habitat is fragmented and shrinking.
Considerable research has been conducted on the Central American agouti, Dasyprocta punctata (i.e., Smythe 1978; 1983; Janzen 1983; Hallwachs 1986; Smythe et al. 1996). However, Reid (1997) indicated that nothing was known about (D. ruatanica) the Roatan Island agouti. Notwithstanding, Goodwin (1942) does present a description of D. ruatanica. All other information about D. ruatanica is inferred from the studies on D. punctata by Reid (1997). This study presents a habitat description, examines the behavior, and feeding habitats of D. ruatanica. This study describes D. ruatanica in a heavily human impacted area to which the animals have become habituated. Considering the paucity of data on D. ruatanica however, it nevertheless expands the knowledge of this species.
During the period from 14 March 1999 through 19 March 1999, D. ruatanica were observed and photographed at intervals throughout the day and night for periods of approximately 45 minutes to one hour each. Generally, one D. ruatanica was selected to be followed and observed for the entire period by one observer. On occasion, the behavior of more than one individual was observed because of its interactions with other D. ruatanica. The following types of behavior were recorded: …