| Adult pacas look quite a bit like juvenile tapirs, but tapirs are brownish-black, their legs as well as their bodies are striped, and even a baby tapir's nose is unmistakable. Pacas, which are reddish in color, are slow-moving, nocturnal, and common in both deciduous and evergreen lowland forests where they are not hunted. They are usually found near creeks or other water. They sleep in burrows during the day. Their burrows are often on steep banks, usually have several entrances, and often some of the entrances are plugged with leaves. Pacas eat fruit, seeds, and young plants. Typically a male-female pair share a territory, but den and forage separately. They have a single young.
When in danger, pacas can run to water and submerge completely. However, if caught in a beam of light, their response is to freeze, and this makes them easy targets. They are heavily hunted for meat.
Head and Body: 500-774 mm; Tail 13-23 mm
Linnaeus, C., 1766. Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis synonymis, locis., 12th Edition, Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm, (3 vols), 1:81.
Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).
Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account (opens in a new window).