Bahamian hutia

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Bahamian hutia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Capromyidae
Genus: Geocapromys
Species: G. ingrahami
Binomial name
Geocapromys ingrahami
(J.A. Allen, 1891)

The Bahamian hutia or Ingraham's hutia (Geocapromys ingrahami) is a species of rodent in the family Capromyidae. Geocapromys ingrahami is endemic to the Bahamas. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, and rocky areas.

Description[edit]

The Bahamian hutia is a rat-like rodent with a short tail and a body-length of up to 60 centimetres (24 in). Its fur varies in colour and can be black, brown, grey, white or reddish.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Bahamian hutia is endemic to the Bahamas and is mostly found on East Plana Cay.[2] It was introduced into Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park in 1973.[3]

Behaviour[edit]

The Bahamian hutia is a nocturnal species, remaining underground during the day. It can climb trees but mostly forages on or close to the ground, feeding on leaves, shoots, fruit, nuts and bark and occasionally insects or small lizards.[2] It has been known to feed on seaweed.[1]

Adults form lasting pair bonds and breeding can occur at any time of year. Up to four young are born after a gestation period of about four months. They are able to eat solid food after a few days and may stay as a family group for up to two years, by which time they are sexually mature.[2]

Status[edit]

Two subspecies became extinct in modern times. The Crooked Island hutia (G. i. irrectus) and the Great Abaco hutia (G. i. abaconis) were mentioned by early European voyagers, and are thought to have become extinct by 1600. This is thought to be due to land clearance rather than direct hunting.

As this rodent is known from only six locations, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being "vulnerable". Its population though small is believed to be steady, but it could be threatened by adverse conditions such as a hurricane, or by the arrival on the islands of predators such as feral cats.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Turvey, S. & Dávalos, L. (2008). "Geocapromys ingrahami". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Gramlich, Courtney (2001). "Geocapromys ingrahami: Bahamian hutia". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2015-08-04. 
  3. ^ IUCN Directory of Neotropical Protected Areas. IUCN. 1982. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-907567-62-2. 
  • Day, D. (1981). The Encyclopedia of Vanished Species. London: Universal Books. p. 236. ISBN 0-947889-30-2.