Patagonian Cavy

patagonian cavy
Patagonian Cavy
Angela Hampton; Ecoscene/Corbis |

The Patagonian cavy, also called the Patagonian hare, has long legs similar to those of rabbits and hares.

In areas without lagomorphs, it may fill the same niche; where the European hare has been introduced, its numbers are in decline.


When chased, the Patagonian cavy can gallop at fifty miles (80 km) per hour, making leaps of six feet (2 m).

Groups of as many as forty may come together to feed on grasses, acacia seeds, and sometimes cactus.

Within these groups, pairs and occasionally trios bond, staying together year-round.

The young of twenty or so pairs stay in communal burrows; the mothers visit the burrows regularly, whistling to the young to come out and nurse.

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Animal Facts

Name: Patagonian Cavy (Dolichotis patagonum)

Family: Caviidae (Cavies and Relatives)


Range: Patagonia, central and southern Argentina

Habitat: Open arid grassland

Diet: Grasses, herbs and low shrubs

Head and Body Length: 27 to 29.5 inches (69 to 75 cm)

Tail Length: about 2 inches (4 cm)

Weight: 20 to 33 pounds (9 to 15 kg)

Life Cycle: Little is known; mating year-round in captivity; gestation 80 to 90 days, two to five young born

Description: Grayish-brown coat; white underneath; large eyes; long muzzle; large, pointed ears; long legs; white patch on hindquarters; short tail with whitish fringe

Conservation Status: Lower Risk (Near Threatened)

Major Threat: Habitat loss; invasive species

What Can I Do?: Visit WWF for information on how you can help.

Related Content: Corwin's Carnival — Lil' Mammals