Patagonian cavy

Latin Name
Dolichotis patagonum




About the size of small dogs, Patagonian cavy's rear legs are long, akin to kangaroos. They are brown with white undersides, with hindquarters marked with a white patch. A large shout and large eyes are prominent on the face.



Patagonian cavies occupy central and southern Argentina.


This species is declining due to habitat destruction and competition with the European hare, which was introduced to this region.


They prefer arid grasslands and brushlands with a great deal of open space, a region known as pampas in Argentina.


Diurnal creatures, Patagonian cavies travel in mated pairs. Males travel behind females, protecting her from rival males and predators. While most time is spent in pairs, large groups will form when grasses and herbs are plentiful. After eating, they will spend hours basking in the sun.

Life History

Monogamous cavies breed a few times each year, producing litters of up to three. Offspring are well-developed at birth, and are reared out of a communal den with peers. Only one parent pair at a time attends their young at this den, finding their via a highly-developed sense of smell. Offspring are weaned by three months and mature by six months.

Special Adaptations
  • Patagonian cavies may walk or hop like hares or gallop like horses.
  • Patagonian cavies communicate with a number of sounds, from grunts to screams.

ARKive Media

ARKive video - Patagonian mara - overviewARKive image - Two young Patagonian mara sitting togetherARKive video - Young Patagonian maras suckling

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