It looks like a kangaroo and sounds like a guinea pig, but this little girl is a species all her own! Meet Paddy, one of Wildlife Safari’s resident Patagonian Cavies. One of the largest species of rodent in the world, Patagonian Cavies are native to South America, specifically Argentina. They are herbivores, enjoying a diet full of fruit, vegetables and foliage. They have the constantly growing teeth characteristic to rodents, which means they are almost always chewing and wearing those teeth down as they grow.
They typically live in areas with lots of shrub cover – helpful as both protection from predators and as a source of food.
Cavies make grunting and squeaking sounds to communicate, similar to guinea pigs. They mostly walk or run, but are fast and agile – they can jump very high to be able to escape scrapes with predators.They are monogamous animals, mating for life. Pairs can live life alone together or with other pairs in warrens, with up to 29 pairs sharing this space (that’s a lot of room mates!). Females will usually have just one litter a year, with a gestation of a little over 3 months. Paddy is one of the education animals that acts as an ambassador, going to schools and community events to teach people about animals and conservation. Up until recently, Paddy lived off display in our education department, but she now has a new home in Safari Village! She alternates in this enclosure with Safari’s male Cavy, Lucas. Nestled between the Tamarin enclosure and the petting zoo, Paddy and Lucas have been investigating theie
new house in prime position to meet new people!