Feeding ecology and diet

All species are herbivorous, feeding on grass and seeds. Both the mountain viscacha and the chinchilla eat while sitting erect. The plains viscacha forages at dusk and during the night. The intensity of grazing by the plains viscacha has been observed to result in open patches where forbs become the

A moutain viscacha (Lagidium peruanum) in the wetlands at Altliplano Lauca National Park and Biosphere Reserve, Chile. (Photo by Fletcher & Baylis/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
A long-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera) sunning on a log. (Photo by Hans Reinhard. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
A plains viscacha (Lagostomus maximus) foraging in South America. (Photo by Loenard Lee Rue III. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

dominant vegetation. If colonies are removed from these regions, grasses displace forbs as the dominant vegetative cover. Mountain viscachas feed on vegetation such as lichens, mosses, and grasses that occur at high altitudes.

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