The Mara represents a small genus within the cavy family. Currently, we know of only two separate species of Mara still existing. These we named the Chacoan and the Patagonian maras.
Genetically, they also appear to be relatives of the much smaller guinea pig. They remain endemic to several regions of South America.
They also appear to be most common in Paraguay and the Patagonian steppes of Argentina. This unique animal forms the fourth largest known rodent on earth. They also move much faster than most rodents, being capable of running or hopping at speeds of as much as 18 mph (30 kph).
Mara Physical Characteristics and Behavior
The Mara possesses a stocky physique, with three sharply clawed toes on their rear feet, and four on the front feet. Many people compare their appearance to a long-legged rabbit.
The Mara typically displays a dark brown on their head and body. The hindquarters remain darker and sometimes almost black, yet their stomachs generally show white.
They average roughly 18 in (45 cm) in height. Mature individuals also weigh as much as 24 lb (11 kg). The animal lives as principally diurnal and also mates for life, typically producing 1-3 offspring per litter.