Chacoan Mara (Dolichotis salinicola)


Kid feed the Chacoan Mara in the zoo park
leungchopan / Envato

The Chacoan mara, also known as Dolichotis salinicola, is a remarkable and relatively large rodent belonging to the cavy family. These social animals are known for their unique, playful behavior, often described as ‘frisky hops,’ and are closely related to the more widely recognized Patagonian mara.


Chacoan Mara
leungchopan / Envato

Chacoan maras possess distinct physical characteristics that set them apart from other species. They are known for their long legs, slender bodies, and large ears, which contribute to their remarkable agility and keen sense of hearing. Their fur is a blend of brown, gray, and white tones, providing effective camouflage in their natural habitat.


Chacoan Mara in the zoo
leungchopan / Envato

The Chacoan mara primarily inhabits the South American Chaco, which encompasses the dry thorny forests and grasslands of Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. Their distribution is limited to these specific regions, and they are well adapted to the arid and semi-arid environments found there.

Habitat Preferences

Chacoan maras thrive in open savanna habitats, where they can quickly spot approaching predators and take evasive action. Their preference for dry thorny forests and grasslands reflects their ability to adapt to arid and semi-arid ecosystems. These habitats provide the essential cover and resources needed for their survival, including suitable burrowing sites for shelter and protection.

In conclusion, the Chacoan mara is an intriguing species with unique characteristics and a specialized habitat preference, making it a fascinating subject for wildlife conservation and education efforts.

This comprehensive profile showcases the distinct features and habitat preferences of the Chacoan mara, shedding light on its significance within the South American ecosystem.

Facts About Chacoan mara

  • The Chacoan mara (Dolichotis salinicola) is a relatively large South American rodent of the cavy family.
  • They are endemic to the Chaco, a large area in Paraguay consisting of arid forests, thorny scrublands, wetlands, and seasonal rivers and streams.
  • Chacoan maras are highly social and diurnal, being particularly active in the early morning and late afternoon.
  • These animals live in the South American Chaco, which includes the dry thorny forests and grasslands of Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia.
  • Maras dig burrows to sleep and rest, and they are known for their ability to run at high speeds from just a few hours after birth.
  • The average lifespan of a Chacoan mara in captivity is up to 14 years.
  • They are a close relative of the better-known cavy, also known as the guinea pig.
  • Chacoan maras are herbivores, primarily feeding on grasses and other vegetation.
  • These animals have a unique appearance, with a slender body, long limbs, and large ears.
  • The Chacoan mara is an important part of the ecosystem in the Chaco region, contributing to seed dispersal and vegetation management.

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