Patagonian Mara

The Patagonian mara, also known as the Patagonian cavy or the Patagonian hare (Dolichotis patagonum), is a large rodent native to Argentina.

Physical Characteristics: Patagonian maras have a distinctive appearance, resembling a cross between a rabbit and a deer. They have long, slender bodies with relatively short legs and a small, rounded head. Their fur is dense and coarse, ranging in colour from grey to reddish-brown, with lighter underparts. They have large, expressive eyes and long ears that can be rotated independently to detect sounds from different directions. Adult maras typically weigh between 7 to 16 kilograms (15 to 35 pounds) and stand around 50 to 60 centimetres (20 to 24 inches) tall at the shoulder.

Habitat: Patagonian maras are native to the grasslands and shrublands of Argentina, particularly in the Patagonian region of southern Argentina. They inhabit open, arid habitats with sparse vegetation, where they can dig burrows for shelter and forage for food.

Diet: Patagonian maras are herbivores, feeding primarily on grasses, herbs, and other vegetation found in their arid habitats. They are selective feeders and use their specialized teeth to efficiently crop and grind tough, fibrous plants. Maras obtain most of their water from the plants they eat and can survive for long periods without access to drinking water.

Behaviour: Patagonian maras are highly social animals and live in colonies, which typically consist of monogamous pairs and their offspring, along with extended family members. They are active during the early morning and late evening hours, resting in the shade during the hottest parts of the day. Maras communicate with each other through vocalizations, body language, and scent marking.

Reproduction: The breeding season for Patagonian maras typically occurs in the spring and summer months, between October and March. After a gestation period of around 90 days, females give birth to a litter of one to three offspring, known as pups. Maras are precocial and can stand and run shortly after birth. They are cared for by both parents and remain with the family group for protection.

Conservation Status: Patagonian maras are not considered endangered, and their populations are relatively stable throughout much of their range. However, they face threats from habitat loss, hunting, and competition with livestock for resources in some areas. Conservation efforts focus on habitat protection, sustainable management of populations, and public education to ensure the long-term survival of Patagonian mara populations and their habitats.

Overall, Patagonian maras are fascinating and unique animals with a vital role in the ecosystems of the Patagonian region of Argentina. Their social behaviour, adaptability, and distinctive appearance make them popular subjects for study and observation.

Patagonian Mara Gallery


Location - Zoo
Threat Status - Near Threatened


Children’s Planet Play