Wildlife Photo: Capybara

 

These are perhaps the world’s most interesting rodents!

The Capybara comes from South America and is a bit of an oddball creature. It is the world’s largest rodent and it is semi-aquatic (with webbed feet!), preferring to hang out in areas that provide forest for protection and water for resting and cooling off as the skin of the Capybara can dry out in the hot sun. The Amazon and Pantanal wetlands are popular places to see them, but they are very widespread east of the Andes in South America.

I’ve been lucky to see Capybaras in the wild many times on trips to South America. I’ve often wondered if they would make it onto my list of tasty animals, but of course¬†it is illegal to eat them in most countries.

They look kind of like a beaver without a tail and are very social creatures. Because they are quite cute, it is pretty common to see them as farm animals in parts of South and Central America.  Despite the temptation, they do not make very good pets. They are social animals and also very vocal, making many sounds from barks and purrs to growls and chirps! In the wild they are usually in groups of 10-40, but sometimes their groups can be even larger.

Recently a couple of capys (as you call them) escaped from a small Zoo here in Toronto, so I thought it was a good time to post a couple of pictures of what these cool animals look like. Hopefully the escaped couple returns safely, or perhaps they’ll create a new Capybara colony somewhere in the city!

A Capybara Closeup

A Capybara Closeup

 

A capybara - the World's Largest Rodent

A Capybara – the World’s Largest Rodent

About Red Hunt

A former journalist and business analyst that now works in the world of travel marketing. Based in Toronto, Red Hunt has travelled to more than 40 countries over the past 10 years. You can follow Red on Twitter @redhunttravel.