Patagonian mara, Patagonian hare Patagonian cavy
Species: Dolichotis patagonum
The Patagonian mara is one of largest rodents in the world. This animal has distinctive long ears and long limbs. Front limbs are shorter, with four sharp claws that help the mara to dig burrows. The hind limbs are brown have 3 toes. Patagonian cavy’s rear limbs are brown with white undersides and hindquarters are marked with a white patch. The mara has a head. This animal has big black eyes with long, thick eyelashes. The body length is 69–75 cm. The tail is short and hairless with the length of 4-5 cm. It weighs 8-16 kilograms. The fur is thick and soft.
The mara usually tends to live in family units where parents and their offspring live together. Pairs of mara stay together and have remained faithful to each other for life. Patagonian maras are diurnal. In one group might be 10-15 animals; they prefer to feed together during the day, while at night they hide in temporary separate hiding places. In the case of danger mara can warn to others to escape to various parties to avoid predators.
The species is endemic to Central and Southern region of Argentina. The Maras are found in open grasslands, shrubland steppes and areas with barren soils.
This species is herbivore. The main part of diet constitutes the grass, and the bark, fallen leaves, fruits, berries. The main part of the liquid gets along with the food, and therefore this rodent can withstand long periods without water.
Dolichotis patagonum is monogamous species. Mating occurs from August through to January. During the birthing period, females will dig a communal burrow, which will become home to many offspring from different adult pairs. Following gestation of 90 to 100 days, the female will give birth to between one and three young, which are born well developed and with their eyes open. Males spend the majority of their time watching for predators. Mara lives up to 10 to 15 years.
The Patagonian mara is listed in the IUCN Red List and evaluated as Near Threatened species.