Patagonian Mara

Patagonian Mara – Communal Living

Patagonian Mara illustrated by Ravenari


Communal living, groupwork, unconventional relationships, charisma, caring for one another, doing it together, digesting knowledge, taking time to ruminate over matters, reflection, basking in the sun, sun energy and healing, capable of leaps of insight, unique ways of communicating, staying in touch.

General Description:

The Patagonian mara (also known as the Patagonian cavy and Patagonian hare) is a large, herbivorous, rabbit-like rodent found in Argentina and Patagonia. It prefers lowland, semi-open habitat and shrub cover. They have distinctive long ears, long limbs, and compressed, hoof-like feet. They are mostly diurnal, though their activity is influenced by environmental factors. They primarily feed on green vegetation and fruit; females feed more often than males, with the latter often taken up sentry duty being vigilant of predators. They – like other cavies – are coprophagous, frequently eating semi-digested droppings for further digestion. They spend long periods basking in the sun. When threatened, they escape, often stotting (rapidly bouncing on all four legs) over great distances.

The Patagonian mara frequently vocalise while moving and grazing, and grunt and chatter their teeth when threatened. They are monogamous and will often breed in warrens occupied by a few pairs. Males will continue to guard and protect the female for the rest of their lives. Females will sometimes nurse young from another pair (particularly orphaned young); however, she can reject and lunge after young that attempt to nurse from her, that aren’t her own. A male will sometimes spray a female’s rump with urine to mark her as his to other males, if she is not receptive, she will often spray urine backwards onto the male’s face. They are predated upon by wild cats, grisons, foxes and raptors. Mara skins have been used as bedspreads and rugs, and they have been hunted for their meat. Their population is steadily decreasing. They are considered a charismatic species in zoos, and breed easily in captivity.