The Smithsonian's National Zoo is mourning the loss of a young male agouti named Macadamia, who died Aug. 10 during veterinary treatment. Initial exam suggested potential neck and or head injury. Due to the habit of running quickly around the habitat, self-induced trauma is suspected. According to animal care staff, Macadamia's death is unrelated to his brief escape July 13. A final pathology report will provide more information in the coming weeks. Macadamia arrived at the Zoo a few months ago and was recently introduced to his mate, Hazelnut, who remains on exhibit.
Agoutis are large beautiful rodents about the size of a large house cat. Native to French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Columbia and Brazil, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists agoutis as least concern. For more information about agoutis, visit the Zoo's website.
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Photo credit: Clyde Nishimura, Smithsonian's National Zoo