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Patagonian Mara

Kabuki and Turbo are Patagonian Maras (or Cavies). They came to us from another animal facility in Arizona to become educational ambassadors in June 2015 at 5 months old. Maras can be very shy by nature because everything hunts them in the wild, but ours have been very socialized here and are very sweet, curious, and approachable. In fact, they love people so much, that they like to chew on what you’re wearing. They love shoelaces, the bottom of your pants or any other long flowing accoutrement you may have with you. They are not malicious, only nibblers. We always go in with treats for them, so they know you have good things in your pockets. They are a perfect animal for our younger guests as they are small and approachable. One little girl, about 5 years old, told us, she thought they came from a Princesses castle. They look like several other animals put together, like a deer and a bunny, so they tend to ignite the imagination. They are not a common animal to see so people are often excited to meet an animal they didn’t know even existed before their visit to Animal Tracks.


ORDER: Rodentia             
FAMILY: Caviidae               
GENUS: Dolichotis           
SPECIES: Patagonum 

Maras are diurnal, active during the day, herbivores, plant eaters. They are adapted with long legs to specifically run and keep a constant speed for long distances. They are also seed spreaders, incredibly important to the biomes in which they live. They are large rodents, that can hop in a rabbit like fashion, gallop or bounce on all fours. They normally live in male, female pairs but reside in mara settlements with other paired cavy. The monogamous couples breed in August to January with a gestation of about 90 days. Two pups are born in a litter, well developed with eyes already open and able to move on their own. They mature by 6 months of age for males and 3 months for females. They are the 4th largest rodent in the world. The only rodents larger are the capybara, beaver, and African porcupine. They are the bottom of the food chain in their environment, being hunted by birds, canids, and felids. This is why they are built to run; they even have the ability to jump 6 feet into the air.


Hunting, loss of habitat, as well as competition from other animals like the European hare and sheep.

Conservation Status

NT - Near Threatened

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