What Are Some Patagonian Desert Animals?

The Patagonian Desert is home to animals such as the Patagonian mara, plains viscacha and the South American gray fox. The South American gray fox is a habitat generalist,so it is found in a variety of habitats, including the desert. These nocturnal omnivores consume whatever food they can find, including rabbits, rodents, berries, seeds, eggs and insects.

One of the most important species in the Patagonian desert is the guanaco, a camel-like mammal related to llamas and alpacas. Supremely adapted for open habitats with harsh climates, guanacos are browsers that consume a variety of plant species. While they are characteristic animals of the desert, guanacos also inhabit steppe and scrub habitats.

The Patagonian mara is a herbivorous species that feeds primarily on grasses. While the exact composition of the mara's diet varies from one location to the next, the University of Michigan’s Department of Zoology notes that grasses make up about 70 percent of its diet regardless of the area it lives in. Patagonian maras weigh up to about 18 pounds and measure about 28 inches in length.

Southern mountain cavies inhabit deserts as well as mountainous habitats. Mountain cavies are diurnal herbivores that primarily consume leaves. Cavies are excellent climbers, and they find much of their food well above the ground.