Mara

The mara is another one of those animals that people really ought to be more aware of. A relative of the capybara, the mara is the fourth largest rodent in the world (after capybaras, beavers, and porcupines).

The mara is notable for their combination of communal nesting and monogamy, each relatively rare in mammals, and each rather extreme in the mara (the mara has been observed to nurse young not their own, a behavior called “allonursing,”).

I’ve seen the mara described as a cross between a rabbit and a capybara, or a deer and a capybara, but to me it looks most like a kangaroo and a capybara. (I should note that the capybara is its only close relation, the rabbit a distant second, followed by the deer, and although I think it looks like a kangaroo, out of all of those animals, it would be least closely related to the kangaroo.)

Via Kiyo’s Flickr photostream.

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