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Scientific Classification

Genus species:Microcavia australis

Animal Characteristics

Head-Body Length:22 cm
Weight:.25-.3 kg
Identification:Microcavia australis has a body that is short and robust with a head that makes up about 1/3 of the head-body length. Head-body length averages 22 cm, and no tail is present. Adults weigh about 300 g. Microcavia australis is a ground-dwelling hystricomorph rodent. Its coat is a course, dark agouti, from brown to a grayish-color. There is a prominent white ring around the eye. The species is known to have fairly large eyes and big ears, which are close to the head. The forefeet are strong and flat, usually with four digits, each ending with a sharp claw. The hind feet have three elongated digits with claws.
Habitat:Semiarid thornbush habitats and deserts
Diet:Herbivore: leaves, roots and tupers, seeds, grains, nuts
Reproduction:Mating takes place between August to April. Gestation last between 50 and 75 days. Litters contain 1 to 5 young. They are capable of producing one litter every two months during the breeding season.
Usually there is one male to a group of females
Behavior:Stability of social groups seems to vary between habitats. In the deserts, M. australis keep strict fidelity to a burrow system. In a less arid habitats, these animals show a loose social organization.
Status:No special status
Interesting Facts:The young of this species are precocious, and parental care does not last very long. Neonates have eyes open, can eat solid food, walk, and run, all from birth. The mother weens young at about 3 weeks. Young animals sometimes nurse from a female other than their own mother. Young become independant at about one month of age. Males do not contribute to parental care in this species.

Other Information

Geographic:Southern South America Date:1973-06 Subjects:rodent