Mountain Viscacha, Southern Mountain Viscacha

(Lagidium viscacia)


Mountain Viscacha, Southern Mountain Viscacha IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The mountain vizcacha is a fairly large rodent with a head-body length ranging from 29.5 to 46.4 cm and an average body-weight of about 1.5 kg.


The tail is relatively long, 21.5-37.5 cm, half curled or fully curled when the animal is at rest but carried fully extended whan moving. The ears are elongated similar to those of a rabbit, hence the German venracular name "Hasenmaus" (hare mouse). Sexes look alike. The female has one pair of thoracal teats.


The colour of the dense and soft pelt is variable, agouti-grey and brown on the back, with a range of cream to black, and the belly is pale yellow to tan.


Mountain vizcachas are agile climbers but poor diggers and that are rarely found in earth burrows but rather use rock crevices for shelter. They are diurnal and colonial, living in groups that range from a few individuals to hundreds. They have a fairly large repertoire of vocalizations used in social interactions.


After a gestation period of probably 120-140 days the female gives birth to one single fully developed young, which weighs about 260 g at borth and will be weaned at an age of about 2 months.


The mountain vizcachas feed on various kind of plants, including lichens, mosses, grass and succulents. They apparently do not need free water.

Did you know?
That mountain vizcachas are - often illegally - hunted for their meat and fur, which has probably caused a decline over part of their range? Between 1972-1979, about one million viscacha pelts (Lagidium and Lagostomus) were exported from Argentina.


Name (Scientific) Lagidium viscacia
Name (English) Mountain Viscacha, Southern Mountain Viscacha
Name (French) Viscache des montagnes
Name (German) Cuvier-Hasenmaus
Name (Spanish) Vizcacha Montesa del Sur
Local names Chinchillón, Vizcacha Serrana
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Jean-Philippe Delobelle



Range Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru
Habitat Rocky alpine country with sparse vegetation
Wild population No global data available, but stable (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population None reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo

Mountain Viscacha, Southern Mountain Viscacha


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 79 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Jean-Philippe Delobelle

Why do zoos keep this animal

This species is very rarely kept by zoos outside its range countries. It would be of primarily educational interest.