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Mara

Appearance

The mara has long legs and ears. They have dense fur which is stiff. On the top the fur is grey and on the bottom is orange and white. Across the top of its tail is a white dash. Above here the fur is black before turning to grey.

Mara’s measure between 69 and 75cm (27-30 inches) in length. Their weight varies between 8 and 16 kg (18-35 pounds). Their tail measures 4-5cm (1.5-2in).

They are the world's fourth largest rodent.

Diet

The mara is a herbivore. Their diet consists of green vegetation, seeds, flowers and fruit with grass forming a large portion of their diet.

Maras ingest their own dung to assist with absorption of the nutrients in their food.

Range

Maras inhabit the pampas in Argentina.

Habitat

Their main habitat is the pampas an area of grasslands. They prefer an area with low shrubs.

They also inhabit grassland, brush land and arid areas.

mara

Scientific Name

Dolichotis patagonum

Conservation Status

Near Threatened

Weight

8-16kg (18-35lbs)

Length

69-75cm (27-30in)

Lifespan

10 years

Diet

Herbivorous

Reproduction

Maras are monogamous and mate for life.The breeding season is from August to September. The female comes in to estrus 4 times per year with each instance lasting just 30 minutes.

In the wild birth generally occurs between September and October after a 100 day gestation. While they generally only have one littler mara’s have been known to give birth to up to four litters a year.

During the breeding season a den is dug. In this den up to 22 pairs may keep their young. Females will give birth in the open before quickly moving these young to the den. Pairs take turns at caring for the young in the den.

The first three weeks of the babies life is spent in or near the den. By 13 weeks the babies are weaned.

glossary

Behaviour

Maras will spend just under half their day searching for food. For females this may be greater as they must prepare for children or feed them. During the day they will bask in the sun.

Mated pairs move around together and the male will work hard to protect the female against threats.

They are capable of digging and create dens under the ground. A pair may occupy their own den or they may create a settlement with the dens of up to 29 pairs interconnected.

Predators of this species include cats such as the puma, foxes and birds of prey.

They are a very faster runner. One has been clocked at up to 72km/h (45mph).

Quick facts

The mara is also known as the Patagonian cavy or the Patagonian hare.

The mara is the second largest species of cavy after the capybara and the fourth largest species of rodent.

Mara’s can get around by walking, hopping, galloping or bouncing on all fours.

Photo Credits

Copyright. The Animal Facts

References

Roach, N. . 2016. Dolichotis patagonum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T6785A22190337. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T6785A22190337.en. Downloaded on 17 May 2020.

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