Hutia in a tree

Once abundant throughout the West Indies, hutias have been decimated by deforestation, hunting, and the introduction of livestock. Once thought to be extinct in the Bahamas, a small population was discovered in the 1960s on a remote island in the southeast. A reintroduction program has partially restored the Bahamas hutia on the island of Exuma.

This rodent belongs to the Capromyidae family and somewhat resembles the nutria, a not-too-distant relative. Although species of hutia vary in a number of ways, for example, tail length, activity period, and body size, most are strong tree climbers, preferring woodland habitats where they feed on fruits, leaves and occasional invertebrates and small reptiles. They may live to 12 years.