The serene and peaceful life of the animal park “deer rabbit things”

HAVE YOU ever looked at an animal at the Lake District Wildlife Park and said, “That animal over there…what is that?”

It’s a question rangers often ask at the park, and it’s understandable, since there are so many rare and unusual animals.

Josh, one of the keepers, has a particular interest in different animals and one of the questions he gets asked is, “What’s that ‘deer bunny thing’ over there?”

“It’s the Patagonian mara” is his response. Read on to find out a bit more about Josh…

“I’m Josh, one of the park rangers, and I work with our Patagonian mara, one of the most underrated animals in the park (in my opinion!).

“We currently have four: one adult and three young born last summer.

“It was great to see the youngsters becoming more confident and mature over the past few months.

“Young ones will start life hiding underground in dug burrows or in tall grass standing still. They don’t come near us keepers at this age. Unlike now, we have a confident mara who sits and waits at the door one evening to see what we do.

PEACEFUL: Josh and the interesting Patagonian maraPREY: An alert Patagonian mara

“During the colder winter months, our mara will be indoors eating hay and the occasional fruity treats we provide, but they can still be seen when roaming around.

“Come summer they will be sitting in tall grass again, as herbivores they graze on plant matter like grass, leaves and bark.

“Our little group is currently making the most of their cabana to keep warm during the recent storm. They are shy so I would always come back to take another look if you can’t see them.

PEACEFUL: Josh and the interesting Patagonian maraFAMILY: An adult mara with one of the babies

“These are hardy animals found in the Patagonia region of South America, one of the wildest regions on earth.

“It’s known for its remarkable chilly cold air, which is why for the mara in the wild, life is all about sticking together.

“Whenever I go to see them during the day, they are side by side and often remain a family unit for life.

PEACEFUL: Josh and the interesting Patagonian maraTOP JOB: Animal park caretaker Josh

“The mara’s way of life is to sit and watch the world go by. Literally. They are prey and spend up to half their day looking for predators while other group members eat.

“I like to go and observe them and if, like me, you want to see them, you can find them in the peaceful corner of the park near the tapir.”

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