The Pacarana (Dinomys branickii) is a rare and slow-moving nocturnal rodent found only in tropical forests of the western Amazon River basin and adjacent foothills of the Andes Mountains from northwestern Venezuela and Colombia to western Bolivia, including the Yungas. One place that it is common is Cotapata National Park in Bolivia. It is known as the pacarama (false paca) by native Indians[who?] due to its superficial similarity to a different caviomorph rodent, the paca.
It is a hystricognath rodent, and the sole extant member of the family Dinomyidae in Caviomorpha; initially, it was placed with true mice. Some evidence places the pacarana as closely related to the prehistoric giant rodents that inhabited South America several million years ago, such as Phoberomys pattersoni and Josephoartigasia monesi.
It has a chunky body and is large for a rodent, weighing up to 15 kg (33 lb) and measuring up to 79 cm (31 in) in length, not including the thick, furry tail.
Pacarans are typically found in fours or fives.
- Tirira, D., Vargas, J. & Dunnum, J. (2008). Dinomys branickii. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
- Saavedra-Rodríguez, Carlos A. "Multiscale patterns of habitat and space use by the pacarana Dinomys branickii: factors limiting its distribution and abundance". Inter-Research 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
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