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Patagonian Mara

Animal Essentials

Scientific Name:
Dolichotis patagonum
Park Location:
Zoo
Origin:
Central and Southern Argentina
Habitat:
Grasslands and scrub desert

Amazing Facts

Maras can reach speeds of 35 mph to escape predators.
Maras pair for life.
They are now threatened by the introduction of the European hare, which breeds faster and eats the same food.

The Patagonian Mara is like no other rodent you’ve seen. However, with long hare-like ears and a body resembling a small deer, it’s built for speed.

Patagonian Maras are well adapted for running with long, powerful hind limbs. In contrast, their front limbs are shorter, with four sharp claws that help the Mara to dig burrows, which they use to escape from predators and to give birth.

The Mara is a social animal living in large groups consisting of males, females and their offspring. Mating occurs from August through to December. During the birthing period, females will dig a communal burrow, which will become home to many offspring from different adult pairs. Following gestation of 90 to 100 days, the female will give birth to between one and three young, which are born well developed and with their eyes open.

Conservation

Due to habitat loss, hunting and competition for grazing ground with introduced herbivores such as sheep and the European hare, the Patagonian mara numbers are declining at a scary speed. Protected areas have been set up but the regulation of these areas is in question. Stricter regulations are needed to save this species from being threatened.

Threat Status

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