The article will focus on mountain viscacha. The rodent looks like a rabbit that has a squirrel tail and also resembles a small kangaroo. Mountain viscacha belongs to the order of rodents (Rodentia). Is a mammal. They live mainly in South America. Unlike their relatives, the lowland viscachas lead an active lifestyle from sunrise to sunset. Plain viscaches stay awake at night.
Whiscaches belong to the representation of chinchillas. They have a very interesting look. The length of the body reaches 50-70 centimeters. Weight can be no more than 1.5 kilograms. The head of the viscacha is quite large, has long ears and a large slit in the eyes. Their hind legs are strong and long, while their front legs, on the contrary, are short and weak. When running, they can pick up speed up to 40 kilometers per hour. Rodents jump 3 meters in length.
The body of rodents is covered with thick fur, which is very soft to the touch and fluffy. The color of the fur is affected by the age of the animal, the season and even the soil. During molting, the fur changes from gray to brown. They are very much like rabbits. However, their tail is long and fluffy, like a squirrel's. He is well developed. When they feel unsafe, they knock their tails on the ground and scream.
The very name of the animal, mountain viscacha, already suggests in what area the animal lives. And they live in arid rocky areas, where there is very little vegetation. You can also meet them in gorges and on the mountain slopes. The habitat of mountain viscachas is on average at an altitude of up to 5000 meters above sea level. He chooses the rocky regions of Patagonia, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia.
Mountain viscachas have an interesting feature, from the first days of life they are able to digest plant foods. This is due to the fact that they live in quite extreme conditions and must be prepared for independent living from birth. They eat grass, moss, lichens, seeds, roots of various plants. If there is a reservoir nearby, then they will gladly settle near it.
Mountain viscaches are very social. They live in groups of 10, 20, 30 and 80 animals. Females in the group prevail over the number of males. Between themselves, they are united and live in burrows that have a whole system. Many burrows are interconnected by passages. The area of the territory on which the holes are located can reach 6000 square meters. They dig holes not for one year or two, but for hundreds of years. The size of the entrance to the hole can be different, it depends on the number of residents.
Rodents take the arrangement of their homes with all seriousness. They collect everything in a row: bones, sticks, pebbles, feathers and any other small items that are periodically taken from people. They pile all their prey at the entrance to their burrows, thereby interrupting their scent, which can attract predators. Collecting all this goodness can lead to bad consequences, namely the spread of infection, which can cause the death of rodents.
The life expectancy of mountain viscacha in its natural environment is a couple of years. In captivity, the life of a rodent is 8-10 years. The mating season is from October to December. Females carry babies for an average of 120-140 days. The offspring of viscaches is 1-2 cubs. They are born into the world with their eyes already open, and puberty lasts up to 7 months. It is no exception that a female can carry 2 pregnancies in a year.
The enemies of the viscachas are cougars, Andean cats, boas, the Paraguayan fox, but man is considered the main enemy. People hunt them because of the delicious meat and pretty skins of these animals. Also, people are inconvenienced by the mink of animals, the length of which can be about 200 meters. The urine of rodents has a destructive property for the soil, so they are classified as pests. Therefore, it happens that people flood their holes with water or smoke them out. They flee from danger, or hide in their minks.
The habitat of both mountain and lowland viscachas is South America. Only the plains live in meadows, grassy plains, and mountain viscaches are located at the foot of the Andes, in the regions of Argentina and Bolivia. They were brought in the 20th century to Uruguay. Since viscaches bring a lot of inconvenience to farmers and other people, they are recognized as an invasive species and are destroyed without ceremony. Now they have become rare animals.
Mountain viscaches are very kind animals with a high social organization. However, by their nature, they bring great inconvenience to people, by building holes, collecting garbage and spoiling fertile soil. Haunted and also because of the tasty meat and beautiful fur. Therefore, every year it is more difficult for them to survive and there are fewer and fewer of them.