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Cavies and Maras: Caviidae

Physical Characteristics

Cavies and maras, also called cavids (members of the family Caviidae), range in size from 8 to 30 inches (20 to 75 centimeters) and have a vestigial, no longer functional, tail. They generally have plump, robust bodies with large heads, and short limbs and ears. Their fur in the wild is short and coarse. Cavids have high-crowned jaw teeth that grow continuously. The size and shape of cavids range from small, tailless, short-legged cavies with body lengths of 5.9 to 15.7 inches (15 to 40 centimeters) and weights of 7.0 to 21.1 ounces (200 to 600 grams) to the larger, rabbit-like salt-desert cavies and maras with shorter tails and, slender limbs, that are 17.7 to 29.5 inches (45 to 75 centimeters) in length and weighs 2.2 to 35.2 pounds (1 to 16 kilograms). Cavies have four clawed front toes and three clawed rear toes. The rock cavy has padded feet and claw-like toes that help it climb rocks and trees. Cavies have flat-crowned teeth that are always growing.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsCavies and Maras: Caviidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Cavies, Maras And People, Rock Cavy (kerodon Rupestris): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS