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Capybara

Capybara

Quick Facts

 Genus:Hydrochoerus

 Location:South America

The Scoop

The Scoop:

The world’s largest rodent loves to swim

The capybara is a large, barrel-shaped rodent found in South America. These laid-back animals love to be around each other and often live in groups of at least 10-20.

Many describe the capybara as a “beaver without a tail.” While they live in different parts of the world, they do have one trait in common with beavers: they love the water! Capybaras are semi-aquatic and live alongside rivers, ponds, marshes or wherever standing water is available. They eat water plants and grasses, and use the water and nearby mud to help soothe their dry skin.

Capybaras are excellent swimmers, and use their swimming skills to evade predators. They have webbed feet to help propel it quickly. Plus, like hippos, its ears, eyes and nostrils are all on the top of their heads, so they are especially suited to life in the water.

Capybaras can be compared to lots of aquatic animals, but they are in fact closely related to rats, squirrels and porcupines. That means that, like other rodents, their front teeth never stop growing. So they eat lots of rough plants, bark and grasses to keep those teeth from getting too long.

These animals can grow to be up to 150 pounds, but they have gentle personalities. In fact, many call them “nature’s ottoman” because other animals, like birds, love to perch on their heads.

Quick Facts:

  • They can eat 6 to 8 pounds of grass and aquatic plants per day.
  • They raise their pups in groups.
  • They are closely related to guinea pigs.

Other Facts:

  • The capybara is the world’s largest rodent, capable of growing to heights of up to two feet and weighing almost 150 pounds.
  • They can press their ears against their heads to keep water out.
  • They can completely submerge themselves for up to five minutes.
  • Capybaras can sleep in the water by keeping just their nose above the water.

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