Makushi name: Paranwi
Creole name: Watras, Water Haas, Kipivara
Size: body=90 cm; weight=30 kg
Description: World's largest rodent; unmistakable if seen well. Large stocky body; large, rectangular head; and arched, rounded rump. Fur dark reddish brown without distinctive markings. Tail not visible. Large, webbed feet. Eyeshine dull reddish.
Activity: Diurnal or nocturnal; semi-aquatic.
Habits: Social, often occurs in small family groups of 2 to 6 individuals, but larger groups are sometimes seen. Feeds mostly on grass and aquatic vegetation. It is usually seen at river's edge or swimming. It will bark and plunge into water if alarmed and submerges completely if pursued. Calls include barks, low grunts, snorts, and twitters.
Habitat: Always found near water, it occurs in lowland forest, swamp, lagoons, gallery forest, and flooded savannah.
Signs: Huge, webbed tracks approximately 100 mm in width, with 4 toes visible in the print of the forefoot and 3 on the hindfoot. Piles of smooth, oval, greenish-brown droppings (about 50 mm in length) at water's edge.
Status: Locally common in Iwokrama.
Distribution in Iwokrama
Makushi name: Aru
Creole name: Hedge Hog, Pimpla Hog
Size: body=40 cm; tail=30 cm; weight=2 kg
Description: Stocky with a bulbous snout, and small eyes; body conspicuously covered with rounded, stiff, barbed quills with pale yellowish tips, lending the animal a greyish-white cast when seen from a distance; face white with pink nose and lips. Short, muscular tail is prehensile (grasping), naked on top near the tip and curls backwards, grasping with the upper surface. Another species, the dwarf porcupine (Coendou melaneura) is smaller and darker and has long dark hairs that partially cover its spines.
Activity: Nocturnal (sometimes active in late afternoon), arboreal.
Habits: Solitary. Feeds on seeds, fruits, and young leaves. Typically slow and deliberate, but can move quickly. During the day it rests in hollow tree dens or sits quietly on a tree branch in the canopy. Usually silent, calls include a long moan.
Habitat: Primary or secondary lowland forest.
Signs: It has a characteristic, strong odour that can be used to locate the animal and identify its den, which often contain piles of droppings.
Status: Has not been recorded from Iwokrama, but almost certainly occurs in the forest.
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