Patagonian Mara (Dolichotis patagonum) - Wiki
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[Photo] Patagonian Hare at Potters Park Zoo. Date July 09, 2007 at 13:38. Author Trisha Shears http://www.flickr.com/people/19598613@N00 from Louisville, Kentucky, United States
The Patagonian Mara, Dolichotis patagonum, is a relatively large rodent. It is also known as "Patagonian cavy" or "Patagonian hare".
The Patagonian Mara lives in Central and Southern Argentina. Maras inhabit arid grasslands and scrub desert. Maras like to live in burrows and will occasionally inhabit burrows that already exist from other animals. See Current Threats below for information on habital loss.
Food & diet
The Patagonian Mara eats grasses and other herbage.
Mara social structure is defined mostly by the fact that they are monogamous, uncommon among rodents, and mate for life. Mara couples together inhabit a territory of, usually, about 40 hectares. The male always follows the female, on guard for rival males and predators. Very little territoriality is evident, but males appear to have a dominance hierarchy.
Maras spend most of their time with their mate, traveling as a pair. However, they will occasionally travel in large groups of 70 or more when traveling to large lakes where food is plentiful.
Patagonian Maras also tend to be active during the day.
Mating & reproduction
Maras are monogamous and mate for life.
Patagonian Mara young, called pups, are kept in a communal burrow called a creche. As many as 15 pairs of Maras may deposit their young in one creche. Mara pups are well developed and can start grazing within 24 hours of birth. However, they remain in the creche for up to four months where Mothers return several times a day to nurse their young.
Maras usually produce two young per litter and produce three to four litters per year.
In captivity, Maras normally live 5-7 years but have been known to live for up to 10 years.
Scientific classification and relatives
The Patagonian Mara is from the Family Caviidae, which includes cavies, such as their larger relative the capybara, and guinea pigs. Patagonian Maras are closely related to the other member of the Dolichotis Genus, the Chacoan Mara. Patagonian Maras are the second largest rodent in the world after the capybara. Though the Mara may look like a rabbit, the rabbit is not actually a rodent and therefore not as closely related to the Mara as one might expect.
Maras in captivity
Patagonian Maras are often kept in zoos, or as pets. Patagonias that were raised from birth among humans are very social with humans, though if they are not used to humans they may begin to become active at night in order to avoid socialization. Maras breed well in captivity.
The Patagonian Mara population in the wild is decreasing, but the Mara is not listed as threatened or endangered. Their decline is caused by two factors: (1) habitat loss and (2) sharing of territory and resources with European hares which were introduced to South America by man. Home Range Central and southern Argentina
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