Sneak a Peek at Cotswald Wildlife Park's Patagonian Mara

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Cotswald Wildlife Park welcomed two newborn Patagonian Mara on August 6. They are quite shy and speedy, but zoo staff managed to snap a few pictures of the little ones out and about. They share an enclosure with two young Capybara next to the Giant Anteaters.

The species, also known as the Patagonian Hare, is the closest relative of the Guinea Pig. They are endemic to Patagonia, meaning that they originate from that area and are found nowhere else in the world. These rabbit-like rodents feed on plants throughout the day and are excellent runners. Pairs will mate for life, and the male will guard the female from potential predators. 

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Photo credits: Cotswald Wildlife Pakr

Patagonian Mara are listed as Near Threatened on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Their preferred habitat are lowland forests and bush, which are rapidly being converted for agricultural use. According to the IUCN, main threats to the Mara are habitat loss, competition with grazing livestock and hunting for their skins. 

Trio of Big-Eyed Baby Maras Born at Artis Zoo

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Last weekend three baby Maras were born at Amsterdam's Artis Royal Zoo. Maras mate for life and usually have one to three babies every year. Newborns are so well developed they can begin to graze within a day. 

Maras (Dolichotis patagonum) are the fourth largest rodent in the world, after capybaras, beavers, and porcupines, reaching about  18 inches (45 cm ) tall. In the wild, Maras live in dry, grassy areas in South America. With their long, thin legs and tall ears they seem much like a hare, but the Maras are actually a subfamily of the guinea pig. They can make jumps of 2 meters. 

Though the family is already out in their habitat for visitors to enjoy, the babies are very shy and stay close to mom, who often has them safely snuggled together in their underground nest. They come out to nurse and play and end up getting nuzzled by the other adults.

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Photo Credit: Artis Royal Zoo

Bottle Feeding Mara Pups

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On May 4, a rainy morning at Zoo Santo Inácio, the zoo keeper responsible for the habitat of Patagonian Maras and Capybaras discovered two small Mara pups wriggling around in a puddle. He immediately brought them to veterinary services where they received a bath and oxygen. When their body temperatures reached around 36°C, the pair were given milk.


The pups, Doli (black collar) and Popcorn (white collar) are both females. The Maras are now in good health thanks to the quick action and dedication of Santo Inácio keepers and vets.

Bottle-feeding a Baby Mara


Last Sunday, April 17th, two Maras, or Patagonian Hares, were born at Portugal's St. Ignatius Zoo. One of the tiny Maras was rejected by its mother and keepers stepped in to hand rear the little one for the time being. If all continues to go well, keepers expect the baby to rejoin its brother and parents soon. Maras are listed as near threatened by the IUCN due to habitat loss and sharing of their territory with European hares which were introduced to South America by humans.


Photo credits: St. Ignatius Zoo

Walking, Hopping, Bouncing Mara Twins!

England's Longleat Safari Park has two perky new additions. Patagonian Mara, also known as Patagonian Cavies, are a giant relative of the Guinea Pig and are native to South America. Parents Bernie and Bernice have only been at Longleat for a year and staff are absolutely delighted with the birth of the twins. Maras mate for life, and can deliver between 1 and 3 offspring each year. Mara babies are very well developed, and will start grazing within 24 hours. There is a whole range of gaits for this animal from walking to hopping like a rabbit or bouncing on all fours! Adults can leap to nearly 6 feet despite only reaching about 18 inches in height themselves!





Photo Credits: BNPS