A Patagonian Cavy is an unusual pet to own; however, they are becoming more popular all over the world. With the unique features (Such as looking like a cross between a guinea pig, rabbit, kangaroo and a dog) and excellent temperament, it is no surprise that people are choosing these pets for their homes. However, you will need to ensure that you research well, and understand how to care for these rodents, to ensure that they remain happy and healthy.
There are several different varieties of the Patagonian species, and the Cavy is the most common, which people want to own. They typically will grow up to 18 inches in height and can weigh over 11 kg when fully matured. The Cavy is a stocky creature with long legs, which look extremely similar to a rabbit. The Patagonian Cavy (Which is also known as the mara) is typically brown with a white belly and black rump and can run at incredible speeds.
This fascinating mammal is a South American rodent, which is awake during the day. The Patagonian Cavy consumes vegetative matter and grasses, and in the wild will live on the scrubland and plains, where there is remarkably little to eat. Native to several different countries, you will be surprised how adaptable these small rodents are to their surroundings.
In the wild, the Patagonian Cavy would live in a group of 15-20 individuals, however, in captivity, they are happy on their own or in couples. You may want to keep your new pet inside, which you can do easily. However, many people choose to house them outside in their own enclosure, very similar to a dog kennel. You will need to be aware that the Patagonian Cavy do like to burrow, and will escape if not housed correctly outside.
If you want to have these rodents inside, you will find they adapt extremely easily, and can even be house trained. The Patagonian Cavy has a natural tendency to go to the toilet near their food dishes and will not wander any further. Therefore, placing paper or toilet facilities in this area will ensure that your new pet becomes housetrained unusually quickly. You may want to consider using a large tray, which is similar to a cat litter tray, which can be easily emptied and cleaned.
You may want to try moving the litter tray to see if they will use it elsewhere in your home, however, many cavies will return to the original spot. If you clean the tray regularly and ensure that your cavy is using it, there will be no hygiene issues. The Patagonian Cavy does not have foul smelling urine, which makes it acceptable to have them in the house. However, some people prefer pets to be kept outside, and your new rodent will be no exception.
If you want to have the Patagonian cavy outside, you will need to ensure that you build the right housing for them to be happy. On average, the cavy will need a 10ft x 10ft enclosure, which is dug down into the ground and concreted. You will be amazed how far the rodents will dig for pleasure, and will love spending time burrowing. The wire, which is used for the enclosure will need to be chew proof, and extremely durable.
Inside the enclosure, you will need to include somewhere for the Patagonian Cavy to sleep, which is sheltered and warm. If you live in an area were the temperatures are cooler, you may want to provide a heat pad, and in extreme weather, the cavy may need to come inside. Your new rodent will love to run and jump and can leap up to 6ft. Therefore, you must ensure that their enclosure is the right height to accommodate these animals.
You will need to ensure that you feed your Patagonian Cavy the correct food and provide fresh, clean water at all times. Hay, Guinea pig food, fruits and vegetables are all suitable for these animals and grass is of course fantastic. You will need to acquire your new pet at an early age to ensure that they enjoy being handled. If you spend time with your Patagonian Cavy they are extremely gentle, and will rarely bite unless spooked. Owning one of these animals is a pleasure and you will soon realize why they have become so popular.
If a Patagonian Cavy sounds too hard to keep, consider the related second cousin… a pet guinea pig!