Vizcacha – Wascaly Wabbit!
The Vizcacha (or Viscacha) is an unusual looking Rabbit looking Rat thing that hops around the Atacama desert, over and under rocks. However, they look like a bunny rabbit but they are not a bunny rabbit! People often confuse them with rabbits, hoping that they are carrying a truckload of chocolate eggs with them!
They usually occur at very high altitudes, where the thin air starts playing tricks with your head. When I first saw one with my own eyes, I was wondering how the hell rabbits could survive in such in arid environment!
Here’s a Vizcacha on a rocky outcrop trying to escape the gaze of my camera. They are not exactly the easiest animals to capture on camera when you want them to stay still!
If you visit the very superb but underrated Lauca National Park, (Parque Nacional Lauca) in far northern Chile, you will definitely come across numerous Vizcacha signs like this one. If you like the wide open spaces, this great National Park won’t disappoint, and you definitely won’t see hordes of tourists there. The landscape varies from flat salt pans to volcanos jutting out of the horizon. And normally, you won’t see a cloud in the sky!
The speed zones in these Vizcacha habitat areas are barely above double digits so that you don’t unceremoniously flatten one of these cool animals under one of your car tyres.
The Vizcacha is an unusual beast. On first appearance, the Vizcacha resembles a rabbit.
I haven’t eaten one, so I have no idea if it tastes like a Rabbit or the Easter Bunny! ;P
But the Vizcacha is actually related to the Chinchilla, which is a rodent. Or basically, it’s more related to a rat instead of a rabbit! So these guys would be hanging out more with Ratatouille instead of Bugs Bunny!
This animal conundrum is similar to the Hyrax of Africa, which is unusually related to an elephant!
So the Vizcacha is not a Rascally Riddle Rabbit like Bugs Bunny.
More Vizcacha Stuff
If you want to find out more, check out Viscachas and chinchillas: An entry from Thomson Gale’sGrzimek’s Animal Life