The animal on the cover of Hadoop Operations is a spotted cavy, or lowland paca. The large rodent goes by different names depending on where it lives: tepezcuintle in Mexico and Central America, pisquinte in Costa Rica, jaleb in the Yucatán peninsula, conejo pintado in Panama, guanta in Ecuador, and so on. The name comes from the now extinct Tupian language of Brazil, meaning "awaken” and “alert.”
The paca has coarse fur and strong legs, at the end of which are four digits in the front and five on the back; pacas use their nails as hooves. Usually weighing in about 13 to 26 pounds, the paca usually has two litters per year.
Overall, this rodent keeps to itself, often described as a quiet, solitary nocturnal animal. They live in burrows that they dig themselves, about seven feet into the ground. Pacas prefer to live near water, which is where they tend to run for escape when threatened. Living in the tropical Americas means a diet of fruit such as avocado and mango as well as leaves, stems, roots, and seeds. These animals are great climbers and gather their own fruit. Considered a pest for farmers harvesting yam, sugar cane, corn, and cassava, the lowland paca are hunted for their delicious meat in Belize.