The Patagonian cavy, also known as a Patagonian mara, is a large species of rodent native to Argentina in South America. Cavys have long rabbit-like ears that help them detect approaching predators. If threatened, they can quickly run away, reaching speeds up to around 28 miles per hour.
The Phoenix Zoo’s cavy crew includes two moms, an older youngster (born in July 2020) and four young pups born in early November of last year.
Patagonian cavys are about the size of a small dog and have long rear legs similar to kangaroos. They are brown with a white underside and hindquarters marked with a white patch.
As far as personalities go, the cavies at the Zoo go from fully stretched out, basking in the sun to prancing about the habitat with the occasional jump-twist mixed in. They are also active diggers and their keepers have been having a lot of fun trying to keep up with filling in the holes they’ve made.
The Patagonian cavys can been seen on the Zoo’s Tropics Trail.