Aug 232017
 

The tayra (Eira barbara), also known as the Tolomuco or Perico ligero in Central America, is an omnivorous animal from the weasel family Mustelidae. That is why tayras have an appearance similar to weasels and martens.

It is a long, slender very good climber with strong claws, resembling a thin-haired, very large mink with a long tail. This chocolate brown to black mustelid is related to the mink and the otter.

Tyras are pretty much small in height growing up to 60 cm. However, they have a tail of almost 45 cm long. Most of them have either dark brown or black fur with a lighter patch on its chest. The fur on its head changes to brown or gray as it ages.

These guys make the tropical forests of Central America its home. They make hollow trees, burrows in the ground, or nests of tall grass their home. They travel both alone and in groups during the day and the night. They eat mainly fruits but they also like carrion, small mammals, reptiles and birds.

They are also expert climbers, and can leap from treetop to treetop when pursued. They can also run fast and swim well.

They are intelligent animals and can become pets. Indigenous people, who often refer to this animal as “cabeza del viejo”, or old man’s head, due to their wrinkled facial skin, have kept them as household pets. 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 IUCN.

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 IUCN.

Marina K. Villatoro, lives in Central America – Costa Rica and Guatemala for the past decade. She has traveled all over these areas with her family and now she loves to organize vacations to Costa Rica and Guatemala. Contact her for advice and to plan your perfect trip!