Patagonian Mara of Carolina

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 21st, 2009

Three Patagonian maras were being reported in Summerville, South Carolina, during April of 2009. One is pictured above in these Post-Courier photographs.

Now reporter Mike Gellatly writes today of a “strange animal sighted in the Aiken area” in South Carolina.

It seems to be a Patagonian mara or hare or cavy (Dolichotis patagonum). It was spotted around the outskirts of the Savannah River Site. Five years ago, a very similar animal was spotted in the same area.

We saw it in North Augusta on our way… back towards Evans. There was just one, running down the side of the road. We thought it was a dog, a big Chihuahua maybe. When we got close it ran into ditch, but it came back up on the road. We had no clue (what it was). We came home and tried to Google anything I could think of. We thought it looked something like a rabbit, a deer or a kangaroo. But nothing like it came up,

said Lori Smith, who, along with her family, spotted the animal on May 20, 2009.

I have not seen the photograph yet of the Patagonian mara taken by the Smith family.

🙂 Thank You.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

6 Responses to “Patagonian Mara of Carolina”

  1. flame821 responds:


    It does kind of look like a rabbit with a deer’s head sans antlers. How large does this animal grow to be? And do they breed as easily as rabbits?

    I assume (yes, I know, never a good thing to do) that its life expectancy isn’t 5 years. So is there a good chance that this animal is now moving in or simply an escaped pet with luck on its side. I imagine an out of place rodent could cause a great deal of havoc if they have a breeding population.

  2. Rogutaan responds:

    Hmm, might this be what is behind the story of the Jackolope?

  3. mystery_man responds:

    Flame821- Patagonian maras reach sizes of around 16kg, or 35.5 lbs, and 75cm, or about 2.5 feet in length. They typically live around 5 to 7 years in the wild, and up to 10 years in captivity.

    I’m not sure of the situation with the trade of Patagonian maras in South Carolina, but although these animals are generally on the decline in their native range, they do quite well in captivity. They are easy to raise and breed quite readily. It would not surprise me at all if someone was keeping these as pets and a few escaped. There is no reason to suspect they wouldn’t do quite well for themselves in the habitat of South Carolina.

  4. Thermite responds:

    According to what I’ve read they can live up to 15 years and usually mate for life with 1-3 offspring per year. They could make a nice little colony within a few years I would assume with figures like that but not on the scale of rabbits.

    Would be interesting to see how much they can consume, damage in the environment. They usually use ready made burrows so would also be interesting to see what other native wildlife can supply them with on this subject.


  5. cryptidsrus responds:

    Cute critters.

    Sounds to me like yet another set of escaped pets. Although if there is a colony of them somewhere near Aiken, I have no problem with that.

    Rogutaan: “Jackalopes” have antlers. Maras do not.

  6. maeko responds:

    Yes, I remember the Summerville incident from the Post and Courier. They escaped. Neighbors help wrangle them up, I think.

    I have not heard of the Aiken or Savannah ones. I don’t think that SC Department of Natural Resources would be very thrilled, though.

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