Desmarest's Hutia

(Capromys pilorides)


Desmarest's Hutia IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The Desmarest’s or Cuban hutia is the largest of the hutia species. Its head- body length ranges from 46 to 60 cm, the tail length from 15 to 30 cm and the body-weight may reach 8.5 kg.


Cuban hutias have a stocky body, short legsand "waddle" when they move. Their tail is completely covered with hair. Their feet are broad and each foot has five toes with prominent claws. Females have two pairs of mammae.


The fur is thick and coarse and the colour on the upper parts can be various shades of black, grey, brown, red, yellow, and cream. Their underside fur is usually softer and a lighter shade. They have no underwool.


Cuban hutias usually live in pairs, but can be found also singly or in small groups. They are predominantly diurnal and do not burrow. During the night they rest in hollows in rocks or trees. Both males and females scent mark their territory with urine.


Births may occur all year round. After a gestation period of around 120-126 days, the female gives birth to a litter of usually 2-3 cubs. The young are born precocial, able to move around, well-furred, and with their eyes open. They are weaned at an age of about 5 months.


Cuban hutias are omnivores, feeding predominantly on plant material such as leaves, fruit, bark, but taking also lizards and other small animals.

Did you know?
That Cuban hutias are hunted because their meat is tasty, and since they are of substantial size each hutia provides a significant amount of meat?


Name (Scientific) Capromys pilorides
Name (English) Desmarest's Hutia
Name (French) Hutia de Cuba
Name (German) Hutiaconga
Name (Spanish) Jutía conga
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Cuba and on nearby islands
Habitat Forests
Wild population Unknown, but stable, reaching densities of 50-100 individuals / ha (1991) (Red List IUCN 2011).
Zoo population 55 reported to ISIS (2006)

In the Zoo

Desmarest's Hutia


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 79 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


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Why do zoos keep this animal

Cuban hutias, being the largest endemic terrestrial mammal of Cuba, are of educational interest. Hutias are ancient forms of mammals, which survived, because their was no competition from other mammals in their Caribbean range.