Patagonian mara (Dolichotis patagonum)

Image of Two Patagonian Cavy

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The Patagonian Mara or also the Patagonian Cavy is the third largest rodent. It’s related to the guinea pig and has three digits on the hind feet and four on the forelimbs.

The feet are compressed and hoof-like. They can run as fast as thirty miles per hour and their more muscular hind-legs allows them to jump six feet in the air!

They resemble a large rabbit having pointy ears and similar bodies, but are actually not lagomorphs.

They resemble a rabbit having pointy ears and similar bodies, but are not lagomorphs.

Cavy Stretching: Image Source: Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

They always travel in male and female pairs with the female in the lead, and the male behind watching for predators; of which, he will defend the female from.  They are active during the day, and are social animals living in groups of up to seventy. They mate on average of three times per year and have one to three offspring that are raised in a communal den of up to fifteen females and 45 babies, mothers care only for their own young which they recognize by smell.

Cavy Mom and her two babbies

Image Source: Garlyn Zoo

They live only in Argentina and eat grass fruits and plants. They live from seven to ten years in the wild, and up to fourteen in captivity.  Males mark their females by urinating on her hind area to ward off other males, and females urinate in the face of males that she is not receptive to. They communicate with many sounds and body postures. Annnnddd….

 

…… They make cute pets! 🙂

 

Video about the Patagonian Cavey.

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