MICHIGAN CITY | On Saturday, Washington Park Zoo staff welcomed its first Patagonian cavy, also known as a Mara born at the zoo. Closely related to guinea pigs, chinchillas, degus and capybaras, the Patagonian cavy are the world’s second-largest rodent, reaching heights of about 18 inches. They are native to the steppes of Argentina and elsewhere in South America.
The baby along with its mother, father and another female are on display now in the jungle building.
Patagonian Cavy young, called pups, are kept in a communal burrow called a creche. As many as 15 pairs of Cavies may deposit their young in one creche. Cavy pups are well developed and can start grazing within 24 hours of birth. However, they remain in the creche for up to four months where mothers return several times a day to nurse their young.
The zoo recently opened for the season. For more information, visit on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WashingtonParkZoo as the Web site is currently under construction.