It’s a deer, it’s a rabbit, it’s a… what the heck is that? Why it’s a patagonian mara, of course. They can only be found in Patagonia, Argentina. Patagonian maras like dry, airy, and open scenery. Maras are typically found in deserts, shrublands, brushlands, and grasslands. What exactly is it with South America and large rodents? They even have the world’s largest living rodent, the capybara. The maras are listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN, due to habitat destruction and over hunting by the fur trade.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Dolichotis patagonum
Weight: Up to 18 lbs.
Length: Up to 2.5 feet
Lifespan: Up to 14 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) Patagonian maras are diurnal (active during the day).
2.) Seeing as they are rodents, their teeth never stop growing. So they have to constantly chew on tough plants and grind their teeth to wear them down.
3.) These herbivores (eat plant matter) consume a wide variety of green vegetation, seeds, flowers, and fruit. Pappophorum grass makes up the majority of their diet.
4.) They are monogamous (mate for life).
5.) Breeding season last from August to September and the female will come into estrus 4 times during this period… but for only 30 minutes. She doesn’t have much time for the lovin.
But wait, there’s more on the patagonian mara!
6.) Up to 22 pairs may keep their young in a grouping of dens. Many pairs will share the same den.
7.) Females give birth to 2 pups after a 100 day gestation.
Did you know…?
Maras eat their own poop to aid in absorbing nutrients from the foods they eat.
8.) The age of sexual maturity is 6 months for males and 2.5 months for females!