The cute and versatile Patagonian Mara

The Patagonian Mara (Dolichotis patagonum) is a relatively large, unusual rodent in the Mara genus (Dolichotis). It is also known as the Patagonian Mare or dillaby. This rabbit-like animal is an herbivore and is mainly found in open or semi-open environments in Argentina.

 The Patagonian Mara resembles a jackrabbit with its distinctive long ears and limbs, with its hind limbs being longer and more muscular. The Mara has a head and body length of 27-30 inches with a tail of around 2.0 inches. Unlike other cavids, the glands are located between the anus and the base of the tail, rather than being anterior to the anus.

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These animals can only be found in the arid central and southern regions of Argentina, where they live in habitats with lots of shrub cover or overgrazed barren soils. When running, these animals have been compared to animals like the Antelope or Deer.

They are primarily diurnal and on average, 46% of its daily activities involve feeding. The females spend more time eating due to the demands of gestation and lactation. Whereas the males spend most of their time sitting being vigilant for predators. The main predators of these creatures are felids, grisons, foxes and birds of prey.   

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During the breeding season (between August and January) dens are dug for the young to be raised. They all live communally which helps protect them from predators with the young having more chance of survival. After the first three weeks the young can leave the den and graze with their parents.

The Patagonian Mara has been classified as a near threatened species by the IUCN due to the hunting and habitat alterations in Argentina.