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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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viscacha Lagostomus maximus. The plains viscacha is an animal of the chinchilla family which lives in warrens on the pampas of argentina. It measures up to 50 cm (20") and somewhat resembles a guinea pig, with larger gnawing teeth, a long tail, and digging claws on its front feet. Its burrows are extensive and leave dangerous holes, deep enough to break a horse’s leg. Gauchos and ranchers, therefore, have long sought to extirpate it from their ranges. It may be eaten. Its cousins, the northern and southern mountain viscachas (Lagidium peruanum and L. viscacia), more closely resemble a hare and live in the Andes. Populations are scantier and are considered at risk. It may still be eaten however. A report from Bolivia thought its white meat tasted a lot like rabbit.