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Patagonian Cavy Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Dolichotis patagonum
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    Patagonian cavies occupy central and southern Argentina.

  • Status

    This species is declining due to habitat destruction and competition with the European hare, which was introduced to this region.

  • Habitat

    They prefer arid grasslands and brushlands with a great deal of open space, a region known as pampas in Argentina.

  • Niche

    Diurnal creatures, Patagonian cavies travel in mated pairs. Males travel behind females, protecting her from rival males and predators. While most time is spent in pairs, large groups will form when grasses and herbs are plentiful. After eating, they will spend hours basking in the sun.

  • Life History

    Monogamous cavies breed a few times each year, producing litters of up to three. Offspring are well-developed at birth, and are reared out of a communal den with peers. Only one parent pair at a time attends their young at this den, finding their via a highly-developed sense of smell. Offspring are weaned by three months and mature by six months.

  • Special Adaptations

    • Patagonian cavies may walk or hop like hares or gallop like horses.
    • Patagonian cavies communicate with a number of sounds, from grunts to screams.


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