All About the Capybara: The World’s Largest Rodent


For goodness sake, who doesn’t want to have one of these in their homes? The capybaras look like many things and combinations of many different animals––but none greater than a cross between a very oversized guinea pig and a wombat. They’re very cute in their own, absurd ways, but did you know that they’re actually the world’s largest rodent? So, let it be known that they come from the same descendants as rats if anything. Either way, they’re very sociable animals and would absolutely love to be your friend!

The internet is filled with pictures of capybaras with other animals––some more violent than others, even. It’s like when bullies open up to this one sociable kid in class. That’s basically the best way to describe the capybaras. They’re fun, cute, and eat their own poop. Wait, what? Here’s everything you need to know about the world’s largest rodents, the water pigs themselves, the capybaras!

What does the Capybara look like?

If you didn’t catch the first part of this article, then I’d be happy to repeat that they look like a crossover between guinea pigs and wombats. If you look at the picture above, you know what I’m talking about. The capybara is a heavy, hefty-looking animal with a relatively small head and muzzle compared to the rest of its body. For a rodent, it doesn’t really have a tail at all. Their limbs are short and boast almost hoof-like claws on their toes. Speaking of, their toes have webbing that helps them swim along the shores of the riverbanks and prevent them from sinking all the way down the mud.

Their furs are what you’d expect from a furry (and fluffy, might I add) animal––dark brown in color with hints of yellow, red, and even grey (not because they’re old). Their fur perfectly suits their wet-to-dry lifestyle as it dries pretty much instantly when on land. However, that isn’t the end of their cool features. You may notice that their eyes, ears, and nostrils are located on the upper side of their heads. With these features, they pride themselves on amazing sight, sound and smell when they’re in the water. This also means that when they are in danger, the capybara could just retreat into the water and leave these parts exposed.

Speaking of fur, do you know what their fur is perfect for as well? Hugging. Our aquatic rodent friends are just begging to be hugged––especially when you know how friendly they are towards their fellow animal friends and humans. Thankfully, Gage Beasley’s Lifelike Capybara Soft Stuffed Plush Toy is here to save the day and fill your beds!

 

Gage Beasley’s Lifelike Capybara Soft Stuffed Plush Toy

I mean, just look at this thing! It’s everything a capybara is and everything you ever wanted to hug. It’s like a teddy bear but it stands on four legs, has webbed feet, and does most of its job in the water. Well, it doesn’t sound very teddy bear-ish now but hey, it’s still as huggable as one.

How does the Capybara eat?

As expected, the capybara doesn’t eat anyone from the animal kingdom. In fact, the capybara is a herbivorous animal and solely eats plant matter to acquire the nutrients and energy it requires for the day. Mainly, the capybara’s diet includes grass and aquatic plants––not to mention its certain craving for fruits, berries, and even tree bark. They’re not very picky with their food, too, as their diets would involve between three to six different species of plants. Talk about food options, am I right?

As for the way they eat, much like other rodents, their two front teeth are bigger and used for gnawing and chewing their food to grind them down. They are also known for their regurgitating their food just so they can chew it again. Not to mention they also munch down on their own poop to break down the cellulose in grass, as well as helping their digestive system in general.

How does the Capybara reproduce?

The capybaras are known to have herds, and in these herds, there are dominant males who have the breeding rights to the females. Very… formal, I guess? Though this can happen all throughout the year, the capybara’s breeding season tends to always be during the downpour of rains between April and May.

After around five months of gestating, the female capybara can give birth to between 1 and 8 pups on land. At birth, the capybara pups are pretty much small versions of the adults as they are already well-developed physically and aesthetically (with all the fur, of course). It doesn’t take a long time before the pups are involved in running, swimming, and diving––sometimes it doesn’t even take a day before they know how to. After giving birth and being birthed, the mother and the pups join the main herd to eat grass for a week while the pups are free to suckle milk from their mother until they are four months old. Typically, the capybara lives a long life of 10 years in the wild and can be slightly longer in captivity.

What are the Capybaras’ Distribution and Conservation Status?

The capybara is everywhere with an outstanding source of freshwater. Normally, they can be found throughout Central and South American habitats like Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. In these countries, all you have to do is look for swamps, rivers, lakes, and marshes, and voila! You would’ve found yourself a handful of capybaras by then.

As long as there is a decent amount of grassy plains around the waters, the capybara should be found inhabiting these areas and territories. However, their need for water varies in different seasons––mostly needing them during the dry season. During the wet season, on the other hand, when the area floods, they must be ready to graze on grassy banks to keep their herbivorous diets intact.

In recent years, the capybara population throughout Central and South America has proven to be fairly stable. This is because their natural habitats are very common in these areas and living conditions could not be greater. The capybara has been listed as being of Least Concern from being extinct in their environments by the IUCN (Internation Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. In certain areas, however, the population of the capybara has declined because of hunters and loss of their natural habitat from deforestation and water pollution. What unfortunate news, that is.

Conclusion:

For the past few articles, we’ve been going on and on about “living fossils” like the nautilus, the coelacanth, and the goblin shark. To shed light on the youngins of the animal kingdom, the capybara is here to represent. These cute not-so-little munchkins are what we strive to take care of in the wildlife. Thankfully, their existence isn’t in imminent danger, but knowing that they rely very heavily on the environment makes things a little worse. Things like deforestation and water pollution could easily end hundreds of capybaras’ lives. Are you sure you want these water hogs to cease to exist?

If there’s anything we can do, it’s to support the environments they live in and stop contributing to pollution––especially in the water. The capybaras have yet to pose a threat to mankind and all they do is eat grass and their own poo. By saving the environment, you’re also saving these poop-eating rodents.

 

Cheers~

~GB


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