Monday, March 23, 2009

Costa Rican Spanish Word of the Day: Tepezcuintle


The tepezcuintle ('paca' in English) is a large endangered rodent native to Costa Rica. When you travel to Costa Rica you won't likely see one, not only because it's endangered but also because it's quite shy and only lives deep in the countryside.

Unfortunately, hunting tepezcuintles and keeping them captive is still deeply rooted in local culture. People will hunt them for their food or trap them to breed them in captivity. To do any of this without a permit is highly illegal and carries considerable jail time. Still, people do it. Regardless of this activity, though, humans are encroaching on the natural habitat of the tepezcuintle--and other animals--making its long-term outlook rather bleak.

In rural areas of Costa Rica I have most often heard this animal's name pronounced as if it were spelled tepezcuinte (without the 'l' as the penultimate letter).

13 comments:

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I traveled to Costa Rica, but I can't saw that rodent. I would like to get more info about tepezcuintle.

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I think is not fair to call this big rats tepezcuintles, because they have a really disgusting appeareance as to be also called with that pathetic name. I think they must feel like shit.

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I think is not fair to call this big rats tepezcuintles, because they have a really disgusting appeareance as to be also called with that pathetic name. I think they must feel like shit.

Randy M. said...

I saw one the other day when hiking through the woods north of Liberia, CR. It made something of a hurried grunting sound as it was running away from me the other day. It certainly is a cautious creature and shy of humans. ...with reason, the Ticos prize them for their meat and poaching is common.

Guanacaste Costa Rica - Mi Tierra said...

I really like your blog. I do some word translations in my blog based on the Guanacastismos that I hear from my adpoted family here in Liberia. It is really an entertaining way of expression that they have.

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