Creatures of the Amazon
The Majas


By Kieth Allan


The Paca (Agouti Paca), known locally as the majas (pronouced Ma- hass), is a very beautiful animal. A member of the rodent family. It is close to 2 feet long with a weight of about 9 pounds when fully grown. It has short reddish brown fur with 5 rows of white spots running horizontally down it's back. They do not have tails but have short stocky bodies and normally have a lifespan of about 10 years.

Formally, their habitat included the entire Amazon area. Not only were they found in the jungle but also in residential areas and gardens. However, since the majas is a favourite food for many of the people of the Amazon their numbers have been greatly reduced and can now only be found deep in the rainforest.

These animals are strictly nocturnal, sleeping all day in burrows that they often share with tortoises. Some say, that they have known majas to share their burrows with bushmasters, one of the most venomous snakes in Latin America. It seems they have a mutual pact of non aggression with this snake when at home. Majas spend the day sleeping and the night eating and they seem to eat everything. Having them as pets, I learned that there is not much they will not eat. Leaves, plants, fruit, vegatables, fish, eggs, meat and grains are all part of their diet. If you have a majas as a pet and it enters the house, they will eat your soap, your toothpaste and even your shampoo.
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