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Caring for a Patagonian Mara

Are you looking for a unique pet? Have you been considering adopting a Patagonian mara? Originally from Argentina, these little guys are quite cute, and are in fact very much like Guinea pigs. A Happy Valley, OR vet offers tips on caring for a Patagonian mara in this article.

Diet

A mara’s diet is actually quite similar to that of a Guinea pig. You’ll need to provide your pet with lots of fresh grass hay, such as Timothy hay, oat hay, or bluegrass. Avoid alfalfa, unless your mara is very young or pregnant. You can give your mara pellets for their main meals. To round out your pet’s menu, offer fresh produce. Some suitable options include bell peppers, cantaloupe, romaine lettuce, carrots, berries, and dandelion greens. Like Guinea pigs, maras need Vitamin C. Your vet may recommend adding supplements or powdered Vitamin C to your pet’s food. Ask your vet for specific recommendations, including portion sizes, safe and unsafe food, and treats.

Habitat

Maras can be kept indoors or outdoors, though we generally recommend indoors if possible. Your pet will need an enclosure that is at least 6′ x 4′. You’ll need to fence it in. Use a fence that is at least 4 feet high. Make sure your furry friend has lots of room to run and jump! You’ll also need to provide a hidey-hole. If your pet is outdoors, this space will need to be heated in winter. Or, you can bring your mara indoors when it gets really cold.

Litterbox Training

Maras can be litterbox trained … sort of. They usually pick a specific spot to use as their bathroom. You’ll want to start by putting newspaper or a litter pan in that spot. We recommend using a metal pan, as these guys do chew through plastic ones. Over time, they usually get the hint. It may help to put the box near a hayrack. Clean and replace the litter or paper daily, as otherwise it will get, well, pretty stinky.

Petproofing

If you keep your mara indoors, you’ll need to do some petproofing. Use protective coverings on power cords, as well as on wooden surfaces, like table legs. Remove toxic plants, plastic bags, medicine, and chemicals from their areas.

For more information on caring for a Patagonian mara, contact us, your Happy Valley, OR vet clinic. We are here to help!

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