Author: Jack Ewing

When you’re walking through the rainforest and surprise an animal that goes bouncing through the undergrowth emitting panicked, bark-like grunts with every bounce, you’ve certainly startled a Central American Agouti (Dasysyprocta punctata). After 20 years of living here, I finally saw one standing still. Once the hunting was under control on Hacienda Barú National Wildlife Refuge, their fear of humans diminished considerably.

Some say that agoutis look like rabbits with short ears. For me, their shape, habits, and mannerisms are more like those of large (3 kg), tailless squirrels. Like squirrels, during times of plenty, they bury seeds. Though rainforests produce an abundance of seeds and fruits, there is always a time of scarcity, and these hoarded seeds can mean the difference between survival and starvation. 

Agoutis have figured out that white-fronted capuchin monkeys are very wasteful and dribble lots of goodies on the ground, so they often follow along underneath a foraging troop of monkeys salvage the edible refuse.


Baby agoutis are the only newborn mammals I know of that select their den site, separate from their mother the day after their birth. Their den is so small that the mother agouti can’t get inside and has to call them to come outside and nurse. At about three weeks, the infants start following mom around and learn what they need to know to face the world alone. Once the mother agouti determines that they are ready to fend for themselves, she chases them away.

Mother Nature applies the law of the jungle to these youngsters unmercifully; only the fittest and luckiest survive, a mere 30%. Their two main challenges are avoiding starvation and predation by coatis, ocelots, pumas, and others. You’ve got to be tough to be an agouti.

In 2015 one female agouti got brave enough to leave the protection of the forest at dusk, scamper across a driveway to Hacienda Barú Lodge, grab a fallen mango, and hurry back to the jungle. Each day she made her jaunt a little earlier, without incident. She soon lost all inhibitions and could be seen in broad daylight sitting under the tree pigging out on mangoes. Her offspring learned from a young age that there was nothing to fear from humans and got in the habit of wandering around in the gardens.

Feeding them is prohibited at the lodge, but they have learned where all fruit trees are located, and check them out regularly. This has been going on for about a dozen generations. If for some reason, these semi-tame agoutis were forced to return to the forest and make an honest living, like wild agoutis, they wouldn’t stand a chance of survival.

Su guía esencial. Your Essential Guide about South Pacific Costa Rica - Alma de Ojochal Hotel

Travel and Service Guide Magazine #76, South Pacific Costa Rica

During 2020, Ballena Tales Travel and Service Guide Magazine has published numerous uplifting, constructive, and thought-provoking articles on nature, people’s initiatives, or a healthy lifestyle. Our contributing authors are members of our community, business owners, and individuals with deep knowledge and love of the South Pacific, thus creating an oasis of inspiration and well-being for you to enjoy.

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Manassah is from Chicago (Illinois) and has lived in Uvita for five years. She left behind her job as a court reporter, well paid, and no less stressed in the metropolis of Chicago with a population of nearly 3 million people. The need for a change in her life was prevalent. After volunteering at the Hostel Cascada Verde in Uvita in 2009, she decided to focus on moving to Uvita permanently.

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Tuna are biting like crazy

Hello from beautiful Drake Bay, Costa Rica. We are thankful to be back on the water fishing every day. Right now, the Tuna are biting like crazy. There are large schools of Tuna right by Cano Island.

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What were my life expectations when I landed into this wild and lush unknown? “Something else.” On the eve of my departure, I look back at these last four and a half years with a heart full of gratitude. Costa Rica has grown under my skin, and I’ll carry it with me for the rest of my life.

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The new income tax brackets are effective from January 1 to December 31, 2021. An adjustment must be made each year, as provided in Law 7092, and in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.

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Pet Therapy, helps to recover from diseases and mental disorders

Most pets are the best friends of humans. They provide company to man and are very beneficial for their health, both mental and physical. Pet therapy involves your pets to help you recover from diseases and mental disorders. ESA doctors review the benefits of owning pets for your health. ESA is termed as an emotional support animal, and ESA doctors are the medical professionals that recommend an ESA on medical terms.

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