Cavy/Patagonian Mara

(Dolichotis patagonum)

The Patagonian mara resembles a jackrabbit. It has distinctive long ears and long limbs. Its hind limbs are longer and more muscular than its forelimbs and it has a larger radius than humerus. The feet are compressed, making them hoof-like. The forefeet have four digits while the hind feet have three digits. Its tail is short, depressed, and hairless. It has a gray dorsal pelage with a white patch on the rump separated from the dorsal fur by a black area.

Patagonian maras inhabit central and southern Argentina. They prefer arid grasslands and brush lands with a great deal of open space. The home range of a mara pair can fluctuate greatly depending upon food availability. Maras move in a variety of ways. They may walk, hop in a rabbit-like fashion, gallop or stot — a unique form of locomotion typically exhibited by ungulates, where the animal bounces on all fours. The legs of these rodents are designed for running and are able to take long leaps of up to 6 feet in the air.

Patagonian maras are herbivorous, primarily consuming grasses. They also frequently consume cactuses, as well as some seeds, fruits and flowers. Maras are also coprophagous, ingesting their own dung to maximize nutrient absorption.

Patagonian maras are the fourth-largest rodent in the world, after the two species each of capybaras and beavers, and the large species of porcupines.

Information collected from and