Mara Factfile

Scientific Name : Dolichotis patagonum

World Distribution

Maras come from an area of central and southern Argentina known as the Patagonian Plains

Habitat

They live in huge, dry, wide-open stretches of grassland or scrubland, where vegetation is sparse and trees are few and far between.

Feeding

Maras will eat almost any vegetation but they prefer to feed on grasses and herbs.
In the summer, when practically everything has dried up, they head for the beds of shallow lakes and ponds, where grass is still growing. Here, up to 100 maras have been seen grazing together, but at other times they are much more spread out, moving in pairs rather than groups.

Predators

Their main predator is the Andean fox, but they might also get eaten by a maned wolf. Baby maras are at risk from Patagonian weasels and birds of prey. When a mara has been spotted, it leaps into the air and sets off at a gallop, showing its white rump as a warning signal to others.(Deer and antelope do this too).

Breeding

Maras mate for life, the male staying close to his partner and guarding her from other males.
Twice a year the female gives birth to a litter of 1-3 babies, which are born fully furred with their eyes open.
She leaves them in a burrow which is shared by the babies of about ten other mothers - a sort of communal creche! The mothers take turns to visit the creche to find their own young, recognising them by their smell. All the babies push and shove to get milk, but they must wait for their own mums!

Other interesting facts

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