Little is known about the biology of Cuvier’s hutia. Genetic studies suggest that it is the oldest living lineage within the surviving hutia species, and may have diverged from other hutias about 20 million years ago (7). Primarily a nocturnal species, it moves mainly in the tree canopy, although it is sometimes seen on the ground. It lives in rock crevices during the day (1) (2) (7). Family groups of between three and four individuals have been reported to share a burrow system (2). Although other hutias may feed on both plant and animal material (5) (6), Cuvier’s hutia is believed to be herbivorous, taking a range of plant material including bark, leaves, fruits, roots and buds, and may also feed on crops (1) (2).
Cuvier’s hutia has a rather slow reproductive rate, the female usually producing just a single young, once a year (2) (3), after a relatively long gestation period estimated at 119 to 150 days (2). The newborn hutia weighs around 100 grams, and is able to run around soon after birth (5) (6). Cuvier’s hutia may live for over nine years in captivity (2).