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Mammals of La Hesperia Biological Station and Reserve


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Mammals of La Hesperia Biological Station and Reserve

Though the list is not complete, we have observed the following species:



White-Fronted Capuchin Monkey, Cebus albifrons aequatorialis

Natural History: active during the day; arboreal; groups of seven to thirty; feeds on fruits, seeds and insects; use all levels of the forest; have large home ranges that overlap each other; found in mature and disturbed forest

Geographic Range: South America – isolated areas in North Colombia, Venezuela and coastal Ecuador, the middle and upper Amazon basin of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil; the subspecies aequatorialis is endemic to the Ecuadorian coast; to elevations of 2000 m

Status: not currently threatened but may become so if trade is not regulated

At La Hesperia: seen especially around the main path from the town to the compound

Tayra, Eira barbara

Natural History: active during the day except near human habitation where they remain active until dusk; terrestrial and arboreal; solitary or in pairs; feeds on animals, insects, fruits and honey; home range of 10 to 24 square km; den in hollow trees or holes in the ground

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – South Mexico to North Argentina; to elevations of 2400 m

Status: not currently threatened but may become so if trade is not regulated
Jaguarundi, Herpailurus yaguarondi

Natural History: active during the day and night; terrestrial but climbs trees; solitary or in pairs; feeds on small mammals, birds and reptiles; large home range of 13 to 100 square km; travel about 7 km per day; den in hollow logs, tree falls and thickets

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – South Texas to South Brazil and Paraguay; to elevations of 2200 m

Status: endangered in Central and North America, rare everywhere
Ocelot, Leopardus pardalis

Natural History: active during the day and night – mainly active at night when they spend many hours walking often on man-made trails; terrestrial – hunt prey on the ground and rarely climb trees; solitary; entirely carnivorous – feeds on rodents, supplemented by birds, snakes, lizards and small mammals; found in habitats with from rain forest to riverine scrubs in deserts

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – South Texas to North Argentina; to elevations of 1800 m

Status: endangered
Puma, Puma concolor

Natural History: active during the day and night; terrestrial; solitary; feeds on medium-sized and large mammals, but also eats smaller prey such as snakes and rats; will attack livestock where their habitat has been converted to pasture and prey is reduced; rarely seen even where common; one to three females and one adult male seem to share overlapping home range; most adaptable of the world’s cats and are found in many climates

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – Alaska to South Argentina and Chile; to elevations of 4500 m

Status: endangered U.S. subspecies only; widespread but uncommon and rare; locally threatened by deforestation and overhunting
Paca, Agouti paca

Natural History: active during the night; terrestrial; solitary or in pairs; feeds on fallen fruits, browse and some tubers; most common near water from large rivers to small seeps but also seen in open forest; live in monogamous pairs that share small territories but forage alone; by day males and females den separately in large burrows with main entrance and several hidden entrances plugged with leaves; burrows usually in permanently dry banks near water, may be marked by mounds of dirt; found in mature, disturbed and secondary forests, gardens and plantations

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – Southeast Mexico to South Brazil and North Paraguay; to elevations of 2000 to 3000 m

Status: common but scarce or locally extinct in overhunted areas

At La Hesperia: seen especially close to the streams and old guava fields
Central American Agouti, Dasyprocta punctata

Natural History: active during the day – more active in late afternoon just be nightfall; terrestrial; solitary or more rarely in pairs; feeds on seeds and fruits supplemented by fungi, flowers, leaves and insects; adults den at night in hollow logs, under fallen brush or sometimes in burrows; monogamous pair lives together in a territory but couple does not travel together; newborn young live by themselves in a burrow that mother does not enter, she calls them out for nursery and care

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – Chiapas and Campeche, Mexico, through all the countries of Central America, Northwest Venezuela, North and West Colombia, Ecuador west of the Andes; to elevations of at least 1500 m

Status: common

At La Hesperia: commonly seen especially around the compound and the stable

Red Brocket Deer, Mazama americana

Natural History: active during the day and night; terrestrial; solitary; feeds on fruits, fungi, browse and fallen flowers, browse is mainly eaten when fruits are scarce in the dry season; favor dense vegetation near swampy areas, riversides and old plantations but forage throughout the forest

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – South Mexico to North Argentina; to elevations of 2800 m

Status: widespread habitat

White-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus

Natural History: active during the day and night; terrestrial; solitary or small groups; feeds on browse and grass with some fruit and fallen flowers; found in savannas, old secondary forests, montane habitats and open woodlands and fields

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – Andes from Venezuela to South Colombia to North Bolivia, west of the Andes in appropriate lowland habitats from Panama to South Peru, east of the Andes along the northern coast and in savannas from Colombia to Pernambuco in Brazil

Status: widespread habitat
Red-Tailed Squirrel, Sciurus granatensis

Natural History: active during the day; arboreal; solitary; feeds on large hard nuts of palms and other trees, other fruits and fungi; nest in tree holes or leaf nests in vine tangles but may not always sleep in a nest; females defend small territories against other females; males are non-territorial and have overlapping home ranges

Geographic Range: Central and South America – South Costa Rica to Panama, west of the Andes to South Ecuador, in the inter-Andean valleys of North Colombia and Northwest Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago; to elevations of at least 2500 m

Status: common

At La Hesperia: commonly seen especially around the compound and the banana fields

Collared Peccary, Tayasu tajacu

Natural History: active during the day; terrestrial; groups of one to twenty, usually nine to six; males sometimes solitary; feeds on fruits, palm nuts, browse, snails and other invertebrates and small vertebrates; release strong odor especially when alarmed; frequently mark trails by scraping the ground in front of a post with hooves, defecating in the scrape and rubbing their back gland on the post; difficult to approach

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – Southwest U.S. to Argentina

Status: not currently threatened but may become so if trade is not regulated

At La Hesperia: commonly seen or heard especially around the main path
Nine-Banded Long-Nosed Armadillo, Dasypus novencinctus

Natural History: active mainly during the night; terrestrial; solitary; feeds on ants, termites and other insects but will eat many kinds of small animal prey and carrion, some fruits, fungus and other plant material; seen most often in thickets and dense vegetation on sloping, well-drained terra firm rarely on flat plains subject to flooding; dig burrows with several entrances about 20 cm in diameter usually in a bank or slope; found in a wide range of mature and secondary habitats from deep rainforests to grassland and dry scrub

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – South of U.S. through Central America, west of the Andes to North Peru, east of the Andes to Uruguay and Argentina, including the island of Grenada, Margarita and Trinidad and Tobago; to elevations of at least 1500 m

Status: common

Striped Hog-Nosed Skunk, Conepatus semistriatus

Natural History: active during the night; terrestrial; solitary; feeds mainly on insects and other invertebrates and probably small vertebrates and fruits; by day rests in or under logs or in burrows; seen in montane, temperate and savanna habitats

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – South Veracruz through Central America, absent from Eastern Panama, in South America in coastal Peru and Ecuador, North Colombia and Venezuela, at high elevations in the Andes, in east Central Brazil; to elevations of at least 4100 m

Status: common

At La Hesperia: consistent evidence especially on the main path

Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth, Choloepus hoffmanni

Natural History: active during the night; arboreal; solitary; feeds on leaves and fruits; often high in the forest canopy and very difficult to see; at night they sometimes descend to hang in lianas of the understory where they are more visible; found in mature and secondary rainforests and deciduous forests

Geographic Range: Central and South America – South Nicaragua, west of the Andes to Northwest Ecuador, west of the Cordillera Oriental in Venezuela, disjointed populations in Peru, West Brazil and Bolivia; to elevations of 1800 m

Status: unknown, common but hunted for meat

At La Hesperia: only in the primary forest

Brown-Throated Three-Toed Sloth, Bradypus variegatus

Natural History: active during the day and night; arboreal; solitary; feeds on leaves; usually feed high in the forest canopy but are very difficult to see; prefer trees with crowns exposed to the sun and may sometimes be spotted on its branches as they warm themselves in the early morning sun; found in both evergreen and dry forests and even in isolated trees and pastures; occur throughout primary and secondary forests

Geographic Range: Central and South America – South Honduras, west of the Andes to South Ecuador, east of the Andes from North Venezuela and Colombia to Bolivia and North Argentina except area east of the Rio Negro and North of the Amazon; to elevations of at least 1100 m

Status: not currently threatened but may become so if overhunted or habitat is destroyed

At La Hesperia: only in the primary forest

Andean Bear, Tremarctos ornatus

Natural History: lives in dry forests, montane, paramos and punas, best habitats are humid and montane forests, minimal home range of 14.28 individuals per square km; estimated that 2018 bears live in Ecuador

Geographic Range: Central and South America – Andes from Venezuela to Bolivia, small population north of Argentina, isolated sightings in Panama; to elevations of 1000 to 2700 m

Status: currently threatened with extinction

False Vampire Bat, Vampyrum spectrum

Natural History: active during night; feeds on birds, bats and rodents rarely takes insects or fruit; roosts in small tight groups in hollow trees; groups seem to consist of monogamous adult pair and one to three of their non-breeding young; member of group that catches large prey may sometimes bring it back to share with the group; one member of group stays behind to guard young while others hunt; often hunt in open areas such as over swamps, forest edges and secondary vegetation but are also found deep in the forest

Geographic Range: North, Central and South America – South Mexico to North Bolivia, southern Amazon Basin; to elevations of 1650 m

Status: widespread habitat but rare

Carollia castenia dos individuos observados el 26 de enero del 2007

Carollia perspicilata 26 de enero del 2007

Artibeus sp. 26 de enero del 2007 y 15 de septiembre de 2007

Vampiressa videns 15 de septiembre del 2007

Information for the list taken from:



Emmons, Louise H. Neotropical Rainforest Mammals. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Tirira S., Diego. Libro Rojo de Los Mamíferos del Ecuador. Quito: Simbioe, 2001.


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