Tayra (Eira barbara) Spanish name: Tayra
The tayra prefers tropical evergreen forests but may also live in dry deciduous forests; they exist below elevations of 1,200 m.
Tayras are found between central Mexico to tropical southern South America.
Biology and Natural History
This chocolate brown to black mustelid is related to the mink and otter. It is a long, slender, able climber with strong claws, resembling a thin-haired, lanky, very large mink with a long tail covered in hair longer than the hair on the rest of the body.
Tayras are mostly diurnal, but may be active at night as well. They forage on the ground or in trees, but do not forage in water like otters. They are curious foragers, and eat a wide variety of foods. They function solitarily or in family groups, and are very vocal when they interact with each other. Their litters can have up to 2l active, playful young.
Tayras look for fruit, small vertebrates, and invertebrates, as well as eggs, lizards and carrion. They are also known to eat agouti and rabbit, suggesting their diet is similar to raccoons, coyotes, and small cats.
Head and body length is 60 to 68 cm, with a tail 38 to 47 cm; they can weigh more than 5 kg.
Janzen, Daniel H. Costa Rican Natural History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.
Wilson, D. E. in Janzen, Daniel H. Costa Rican Natural History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.
-Amy Strieter, Wildlife Writer
- Biosphere Expeditions Organization website.