I came across this little critter last year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Before one ran out in front of me while on my way to the beach, I did not even know that this animal existed.
They are known as ‘tzereques’ (pronounced se-reck-ees) by the Yucatan locals and ‘agoutis’ in English.
As you can see, the local cats know enough to not mess with a rodent this big, and let them hang around and even share their food.
They can be seen roaming around the beach and jungle areas and while they are a bit shy, they usually let you get close enough to snap a photo or two.
I think they are pretty cute; kind of a large rat/rabbit/squirrel mixture. Their hind legs and short tail are similar to those of rabbits; they eat like a squirrel, but they have an overall rat-like appearance.
They are found in Central and Northern South America and the West Indies, in jungle areas with lots of undergrowth and usually near water.
Am I the only one who did not know of the existence of the agouti? If you have never heard or seen this animal before, let me know! Are there any animals that you have come across in your travels that surprised you because you had never seen them before?