Mountain viscachas look very much like rabbits with long, fluffy tails. They have large ears and powerful hind legs for jumping. They are, nevertheless, rodents and not rabbits. These rodents live in the mountains, in dry, rocky areas above the timber line but beneath the snow line, often near water and usually on cliffs. Their range encompases the Andes Mountains of South America. They eat primarily grass, moss, and lichen. They are typically active from mid-afternoon until sunset.
Mountain viscachas live in large colonies of several dozen individuals, divided into families of 2 to 5 which share a den - typically a crevice in the rocks. The previous year's juvenile males are driven out by the females at the start of the breeding season.
The southern species of mountain viscacha Lagidium viscacia is somewhat larger than the northern species Lagidium peruanum, at 3 and 1 kg, respectively.
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