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Mountain Paca
Mountain-paca
Information
Range Andean Montane forest regions in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Rodentia
Family Cuniculidae
Genus Cuniculus
Species Cuniculus taczanowskii
Conservation Status
NTSpecies
Near Threatened

The Mountain paca (Cuniculus taczanowskii), is a species of paca whose habitats are high altitude South American forests. Pacas are nocturnal, sedentary, and solitary animals with territorial tendencies. It eats mostly fruits and seeds. The mountain paca primarily inhabits higher Andean Montane forest regions in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

This paca has coarse fur without underfur, dark brown to black on the upper body and white or yellowish on the underbelly. It usually has three to five rows of white spots along its sides, against a dark grey background. It has thick strong legs, with four digits in the forefeet and five in the hind feet (the first and fifth are reduced); the nails function as hooves. The tail is short and hairless. The zygomatic arch is expanded laterally and dorsally and is used as a resonating chamber - a unique feature among mammals.

The mountain paca is hunted for its meat, which is high in calories and is considered a delicacy particularly in rural communities. Due to its quick growth, it may be bred in captivity for commercial use. However, it has a low reproductive capacity and its numbers have been significantly reduced in recent years due to hunting and habitat destruction. It is fairly abundant in protected areas.

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