Behaviour: Patagonian Maras are strictly monogamous (a rare trait in mammals), forming lifelong pairs. She has cared for a number of dogs, cats and other furry pets since a young age. Indeed, you can see them at many UK zoos and safari parks today. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, maras are fed rodent chow, greens, fruits, vegetables, nuts and hay. Individuals in different regions feed on different plant species. Interestingly, males may engage in fierce battles in order to protect their chosen female. Both males and females spend long periods of time grazing on grasses, and females typically spend even longer feeding, during the period when they are rearing offspring. Patagonian Cavies belong to the rodent family. Additionally, sheep farming has resulted in competition for resources among the two herbivorous species. Patagonian cuisine is very well differentiated in mountain range, central and coast regions. Its long legs are believed to help it escape effectively from the clutches of would-be predators. The Patagonian mara is found only in Argentina. Their long ears, short tails and larger size set them apart from other species within the family Caviidae. On the way out to view Petrohué Falls in Chile, I found this little cutie, a … If necessary, they can jump distances of up to 1.8m (6ft). Other species that the mara is sometimes paired within include the red-necked wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus). They will eat nearly any available vegetation. When sharing a crèche area with other pairs, the energy and effort required to create an extensive burrow system is reduced for individual adults. One of the greatest issues that mara populations currently face is habitat destruction. Patagonian maras mostly eat grasses but will also eat cactuses, seeds, fruits, and flowers. 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 Patagonian species lives only in arid regions with low rainfall. The mara is also known as the Patagonian cavy or the Patagonian hare. Estrus occurs three to four times each year, for a window of only 30 minutes. Some owners use commercial primate food but protein content is of concern in that kind of food. As mentioned previously, the mara is now found within a range of different zoological collections. Distribution of the Mara. At present, the collection boasts a population of at least 60 maras. Patagonian maras inhabit central and southern Argentina. Whales. Imagine a guinea pig’s face attached to a hare’s body. As coprophagous animals, they also occasionally take in fecal matter. Gestation lasts around 100 days, with the female typically giving birth to one to three well-developed young. Shortly after birth, the babies of multiple mara pairings will crawl into their shared burrow, protected against terrestrial predators. The mara shares close relationships with several other South American rodents – most notably the capybara (Hydrochaeris hydrochoerus). Mara babies are very well developed when they are born usually grazing within the first 24 hours of their life. Maras are also found within desert regions too, where their ability to move over large areas means that they can take advantage of scarce vegetation. A native of Argentina, the species has near-threatened status. In the wild, the average lifespan of a Patagonian mara may be just five years or so, but in collections, these rodents can live for as long as 14 years. Occasionally kept in the company of wallabies, maras do look rather like these marsupials from some angles, although they are unrelated. Longevity. This behaviour, in which many unrelated mara youngsters share one burrow, is known as creching. Adopt a red panda to give the perfect gift to the animal lover in your life — even if that animal lover is you! They also eat fruit and thus disperse seeds through their feces. Like most rodents, these creatures are herbivores. Hunting and fragmentation of existing areas of land have led the Patagonian mara to its current vulnerable population state. Ecosystem Role. This … Ranking as the fourth largest rodent in the world, maras reach the size of a medium-sized breed of dog. Dolichotis patagonum (Patagonian Cavy) is a species of rodents in the family guinea pigs.They are listed as near threatened by IUCN. Young maras will start eating greenstuff very soon after birth. Jeniffer Coates is a passionate animal lover. They can achieve speeds equivalent to about 29kph (18mph) over short distances. Over the winter however, grasses will slow in their growth, meaning that this resource becomes limited in outdoor paddocks. Be a smart consumer! This symbiotic relationship between microbes and maras allow these herbivores to survive on very low quality food sources. Unfortunately, they are not really for most people to keep as pets, given both their size and readiness to escape from an enclosure, by digging, running or jumping. What to Feed a Pet Mara Main Diet. The Patagonian species lives only in Argentina. They produce a special feces, which is ingested and re-digested. For females, which will be lactating to produce milk for their offspring, their energetic needs will be even higher – and thus the amount of time available for them to graze becomes even more significant. As grazing herbivores, Patagonian cavies play a role in shaping their habitat. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, maras are fed rodent chow, greens, fruits, vegetables, nuts and hay. Share the story of this animal with others. Maras dig a burrow to sleep in at night. Most of what Patagonian cavies eat is grass, particularly of the Pappophorum variety. However, further conservation measures may well be required to guard against the ultimate extinction of the species in the wild in the longer term. Their lifespan in the wild is unknown. MRC 5516 In terms of diet, the mara is a strict vegetarian, and thrives on a diet rich in grasses – and will also eat fruit when this is available. Their main food is grass and herbage. Young maras will nurse for much longer than most other rodent species — about 75 days — before being weaned. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our websites and social media. There are several benefits to this rather unusual social arrangement, here parents can spend longer periods of time away from their offspring in the burrow, as the babysitting duties are shared among many individuals. It is also known as the Patagonian cavy, Patagonian hare, or dillaby. Patagonian maras are herbivores (folivores). These foods contain lower fibre and higher calorie levels than pellets or grasses, and thus are highly prized by maras. Most maras in the wild produce only one litter annually, although maras in human care can give birth three to four times each year. They supplement their diet with a wide variety of cacti, foliage and herbs. Patagonian maras average 27.5 inches (70 centimeters) in length, with a tail of 1.5 to 2 inches (4 to 5 centimeters). Maras also possess teeth that constantly grow – again, this is a characteristic of rodents (and rabbits too) which is shared with our domestic pets at home. The Patagonian mara is found throughout Argentina, including the Patagonian region, from which it receives its common name. We hope you will join us in this important work. They also eat a lot of "pil-pil", olive oil and chili are used to combine with seafood. Identification of offspring may take place through visual cues and olfactory senses, with parents sniffing potential offspring to pick up their individual scent. Patagonian maras are long-legged rodents with bodies similar to hoofed animals. These animals maintain their monogamous, pair-relationship. Cavys are native to central and south Argentina. Dark, leafy greens, fresh hay, and grass should make up the bulk of the herbivore's diet. In addition, people are more likely to spend time observing the mara enclosure. Housing different animals from the same area together in this way is often successful. Looking like a blend of many existing rodent species, the mara possesses several unique traits which help it to survive in its South American habitat. In fact, the mara is sometimes known as the Patagonian hare. They weigh between 17.6 and 35.3 pounds (8 to 16 kilograms). Reproduction is dioecious.They rely on running to move around. Patagonian Mara (Dolichotis patagonum) Meet our newest furry friend; a pantagonian Cavy or also sometimes referred to as a Mara. Maras make interesting animals to study, as they have a fascinating group structure. One of the most impressive groups of maras may be encountered at ZSL Whipsnade zoo. No, he is not a rabbit, nor a kangaroo! He is actually more closely related to the common guinea pig! The diet of these rodents consists entirely of plants, mostly - Pappophorum grass. Mara offspring are born close to the openings of these extensive underground burrows. The Patagonian cavy, also known as the Patagonian mara, is a large-sized relative of the guinea pig species. She is a consulting veterinarian for various zoos and aquariums in Virginia. Simply raising awareness about this species can contribute to its overall protection. If one of these zoos doesn’t have one of these, it is more likely to have a capybara, which is another large cavy species. 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