Patagonian Cavy

Dolichotis patagonum

Animal Ambassadors



The “Cavy Crew”

The Patagonian cavy, also known as the Patagonian mara, is native to South America. Although they resemble jackrabbits, they are actually large rodents! They are primarily grazers, spending almost half of their day eating on semi-open plains. Because they are so often in the open, they are preyed upon by a wide range of mammals, raptors, and reptiles. Luckily, though, cavies are incredibly fast and agile creatures, reaching speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Their long, slender legs are built for speed, and their feet are compact, functioning almost like a hoof. Interestingly, they have four toes on their front legs but only three on their hind legs! Cavies are a monogamous species, with male-female partners mating for life. A male will follow his mate around wherever she goes, marking her with urine and chasing away competitors to maintain their bond. When raising young, cavies share large dens with up to 30 other mated pairs. Although once widespread throughout Argentina, Patagonian cavies are now a near-threatened species due to habitat loss and hunting for meat and fur.

Grass, vegetation, fruit
7-10 years / 14 years
Open and semi-open regions
Length / Wingspan:
27-30 inches
18-35 lbs