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Tayra
Eira barbara Tayra image
Makushi name: Araiwa
Creole name: Haka
Size: body=75 cm; tail=40 cm; weight=4 kg
Description: Large, long-legged weasel-like animal with a long bushy tail. Body usually blackish with a pale yellow or grey-brown head and neck; sometimes fur entirely straw-yellow (this race is found only in Guyana, intermixed with dark animals). Back long and arched; feet large with strong claws.
Activity: Mainly diurnal, sometimes active at dusk or before dawn; semi-arboreal, traveling along the ground or on horizontal branches in the lower canopy.
Habits: Seen moving rapidly through the trees or on the ground alone or in groups of 2 to 4. This large mustelid travels with a bouncy gait, back and tail arched. If disturbed it usually climbs to escape, moving along branches with great agility. At night it sleeps in burrows or hollow logs. It eats insects, fruit, and vertebrates including lizards, monkeys, and agoutis. It is usually silent, but may snort sharply or spit when disturbed; growls and high-pitched barks are sometimes given.
Habitat: Evergreen and deciduous forest and second growth; also clearings and agricultural areas near forest.
Signs: Five-toed tracks are broad (about 55 mm front or back) with prominent claw marks; seed-filled scat often deposited on fallen logs.
Status: Not yet recorded from Iwokrama Forest.
Grison
Galictis vittata Grison image
Size: body=50 cm; tail=15 cm; weight=2 kg
Description: Muscular, with a long, low body and very short legs and tail. Distinctive colouration: grizzled grey above, white stripe on sides of neck and across forehead, black face, limbs, and underside of neck. Unlikely to be confused with another species.
Activity: Probably diurnal; terrestrial, swims well.
Habits: Poorly known; it is seldom seen and apparently rare throughout its range. It may travel alone or in pairs. It dens in armadillo burrows and other openings in the ground. The diet includes small reptiles, birds, and mammals. It is usually silent but may snort or growl if threatened.
Habitat: Lowland forest and savannah. Most often sighted near rivers or streams.
Signs: Tracks are five-toed, about 40 to 50 mm wide, with prominent claw marks.
Status: Not yet recorded from Iwokrama Forest, but almost certainly present and likely uncommon.
Bush Dog
Speothos venaticus Bush Dog image
Makushi name: Ai
Creole name: Short tail dog
Size: body=65 cm; tail=12 cm; weight=6 kg
Description: Small and low-slung. Head paler than body; tail very short, often held upright. Front feet broad with partial webbing between the toes. An odd-looking dog unlikely to be confused with other species.
Activity: Probably diurnal; terrestrial; swims well.
Habits: Little known in the wild. It is usually seen in pairs or small groups in the forest, and it forms strong pair-bonds in captivity. It dens in burrows or at the base of hollow trees. The few observations of wild Bush Dogs are mostly while it was hunting: it has been seen chasing Paca into water and a group of 4 to 6 was seen pursuing a Paca through the forest, yapping like puppies. It is thought to be strictly carnivorous and eats agouti, Paca and fish. Vocalizations include yelps, whines, barks and high-pitched squeaks.
Habitat: Mature forest, usually near water.
Signs: Tracks with four toes and some claw marks usually present; front track rather broad (about 45 mm), hind track longer and narrower (about 42 mm); foot pad relatively small compared to cat tracks of similar size.
Status: Rare. Listed on CITES Appendix I. IUCN rank of Vulnerable.

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