The southern viscacha (Lagidium viscacia ) is a species of viscacha, a rodent in the family Chinchillidae found in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. It is a colonial animal living in small groups in rocky mountain areas. It has long ears and hind legs and resembles a rabbit in appearance apart from its long, bushy tail, but is not a lagomorph.
Southern viscachas have yellowish-grey upperparts, paler underparts, and a black-tipped, bushy tail. The body fur is long and soft, while that on the tail is coarse. The long, fur-covered ears have a white fringe. Both the short front legs and longer hind legs have four digits on the feet. The soles of the feet have fleshy pads called "pallipes" which help these animals to move about with agility over rocky surfaces.
Southern viscachas are found in South America. They are native to the mountainous parts of western Argentina, southern Peru, western and central Bolivia, and northern and central Chile. These animals live among rocks and around crags where the vegetation is sparse.
Southern viscachas are colonial animals that live in small groups. They do not hibernate and are mostly active soon after dawn and in the evening. At these times, they come out from their underground hiding place to feed. Part of the day is spent perched on a rock sunbathing, grooming, or resting. Southern viscachas do not venture far from rocks so that they can plunge underground if danger threatens. They use various calls to communicate with each other.
Little information is available about the mating system and reproductive behavior of Southern viscachas. It is known that breeding starts in the last quarter of the year when mating takes place. The gestation period lasts about 130 days. Females give birth to a single precocial pup (or sometimes two) which has its eyes open and is fully furred at birth. It suckles for about 8 weeks but is able to supplement the milk with solid food within hours of its birth. Young Southern viscachas reach reproductive maturity at around 1 year of age.
There are no major threats to these animals. However, they suffer from weather conditions and are hunted for their flesh and fur.
The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Southern viscacha total population size. These animals are very common and widespread throughout their known range. Currently this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.