Tuco-tuco Facts

Tuco-tuco Facts
Tuco-tuco is a rodent that lives in South America. Scientists believe that there are up to 60 different species of tuco-tuco (exact number is unknown). Tuco-tuco can be found in Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. These animals inhabit various habitats: grasslands, forests, mountain slopes, pastures and agricultural fields. They can survive at altitudes of above 13 000 feet. Main threat for the survival of tuco-tuco is habitat loss due to increased human activity. Also, farmers kill tuco-tucos to prevent damaging of crops. Because of these factors, several species of tuco-tuco are listed as vulnerable or endangered.
Interesting Tuco-tuco Facts:
Size of tuco-tuco depends on the species. They can reach 5.9 to 9.8 inches in length and 3.5 to 35 ounces in weight. Tail is usually 4 to 5 inches long.
Body is covered with short, dense fur that can be grey, brown or black in color, depending on the habitat. Body coloration matches with the colors of the environment and it provides camouflage.
Tuco-tuco has cylindrical body and short, strong legs. Their eyes and ears are very small. Fore limbs are shorter than hind limbs. Fore limbs are equipped with sharp claws that are used for digging. Hind legs are covered with bristles that look like a comb.
"Ctenomys" is the scientific name for this group of rodents. It means "comb-mouse" in Latin (given due to long hairs on the hind legs).
Tuco-tuco has prominent (and large) incisors that are orange in color.
Tuco-tuco is diurnal animal (active during the day). It usually searches food early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
Tuco-tuco is herbivore (plant-eater). Its diet consists of different types of roots and underground plants.
Tuco-tuco uses its powerful front feet and sharp claws to build complex underground burrows. Each burrow has separate chambers that are used for sleeping, storing of food and for the nursing of the babies.
Name tuco-tuco is given because these animals emit tuco-tuco sound when they dig their burrows.
Depending on the species, tuco-tuco may live solitary life or be a part of the colony.
Solitary species of tuco-tuco usually live in arid habitats, while social tuco-tucos inhabit wet and moist areas.
Mating season of tuco-tuco usually takes place in the winter. Tuco-tucos mate in the safety of underground burrows.
Males show aggression and use chemical and auditory cues during the courtship.
Pregnancy in females lasts 102 to 120 days and ends with one to seven babies. Young tuco-tucos are born in the underground burrows. They are well developed at birth and ready for independent life soon afterwards. Tuco-tucos attain sexual maturity before they reach the age of 12 months.
Tuco-tuco can survive up to 3 years in the wild.

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