Wild Tracks

On behalf of the world's wild species

Meet The Carnivore #1

Our Friday What In The World critter was a Tayra Eira barbara.

The tayra, also known as the Tolomuco or Perico ligero in Central America, is an omnivorous animal from the weasel family Mustelidae.

Tayras live in the tropical forests of Central America, South America and on the island of Trinidad.

They eat mainly fruit, but also carrion, small mammals, reptiles, and birds. They live in hollow trees, burrows in the ground, or nests of tall grass. They travel both alone and in groups during both the day and the night. Tayras are expert climbers, and can leap from treetop to treetop when pursued. They can also run fast and swim well.

Tayras will eat most anything, hunting rodents and invertebrates, and climbing trees to get eggs and honey. They are attracted to fruit and can be found raiding orchards.

Tayras are playful and easily tamed. Indigenous people, who often refer to the tayra as “cabeza del viejo”, or old man’s head, due to their wrinkled facial skin, have kept them as household pets to control vermin.

Wild tayra populations are slowly shrinking, especially in Mexico, due to habitat destruction for agricultural purposes. Though the species as a whole is listed as a Least Concern species, the northernmost subspecies, Eira barbara senex, is listed as Vulnerable by the World Conservation Union( IUCN).

Read more about these little members of The Weasel Family on this website.


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