Reproductive biology

Cavids display a range of mating systems including hierarchical promiscuity, polygyny, and monogamy. Young are born precocial and mature sexually at an early age. Smaller cavies, including the rock cavy, range in gestation period from 50-70 days, are polyestrous (producing multiple litters per year), and are capable of postpartum estrus. Litter size can be as high as seven, but in most small species litter size is one to three. Maras and salt-desert cavies are more seasonal in breeding patterns and produce small litters of one to two offspring, which are extremely precocial, due to convergence with small antelopes. In general, the smaller species have larger reproductive outputs.

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