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Mara (Patagonian Cavy)


Central and southern Argentina.


Scrub desert and grassland.


Head and body are brown, rump is dark almost black with prominent white fringe around the base; belly is white.

Mara (Patagonian Cavy) Click to View Bigger Picture

Maras are one of the few mammals that are monogamous (pairs mate for life). The young are kept in a communal burrow called a creche. As many as 15 pairs of maras may deposit their young in one creche. Although pups are well developed and can start grazing within 24 hours of birth, they remain in the creche for up to four months. Mothers return several times a day to nurse their young.

Did YOU Know?
Although maras resemble rabbits, they are actually rodents.
Mara (Patagonian Cavy)
Class: mammal
Order: Rodentia
Genus: Docilchotis
Species: patagonum
Height: 18 inches
Weight: about 17 pounds
Average Lifespan: 14
Wild Diet: Primarily short grasses and herbs.
Predators: Females may have several litters of 1-3 precocial (well developed at birth) young each year. Gestation is about 75 days.
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Temperate Zone

Learn more about mammal or animals from South America!
Or, cross-reference the two!

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